Quebec is unveiling details of a new course intended to replace a polarizing class on religious ethics and culture that has been taught in province schools for more than a decade.
Education Minister Jean-François Roberge unveiled the highlights of the new program, dubbed Culture and Citizenship in Quebec, at a press conference on Sunday afternoon.
Roberge says the new course will teach Quebec students how to be proud members of Quebec society and will include sections on the province’s judicial system, critical thinking, social media, and gender equality, among others.
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Roberge said the class aims to provide cohesion and fight sexism, racism and sexual violence.
It will replace the current program that has been in place since 2008 and has faced years of relentless criticism from Quebec nationalists and committed secularists, who say the course placed too much emphasis on multiculturalism.
Indigenous history and culture will also be included in the curriculum. According to a statement by the Minister of Indigenous Affairs, Ian Lafrenière, members of the First Nations and Inuit communities participated in the consultation process.
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But although the government claims it will cover all cultures, some members of the English-speaking community are not so sure.
“He’s not going to impose on us what our language and culture are all about,” says English Montreal School Board President Joe Ortona, who also called the new course contradictory.
“If you really want to protect freedom of expression, you should take a good look at some of the bills that you passed that used the clause nonetheless to violate freedom of expression,” Ortona added.
The new program will be introduced in some schools as a pilot project in September 2022 before being fully implemented in all primary and secondary schools in the province a year later.
–With files from The Canadian Press
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