New Quebec history curriculum has population divided

Rewriting history?
WATCH ABOVE: The province is introducing a new history course to grade nine and 10 students and many are calling it revisionist history. Global's Matt Grillo reports.

The new history courses for grade 9 and 10 students in Quebec has some people disagreeing about its content.

The idea for the new history courses was brought up by the former Parti Quebecois government.

However, the provincial Liberals have decided to continue with the new curriculum and some teachers are not happy.

“It should be something that we as teachers can feel proud of,” Robert Green, social sciences teacher, said. “Not something that we have to hijack in order to do justice for our students.”

The new curriculum has detractors believing Anglophones and other communities are being pushed aside for a nationalist view.

“We in fact, in the current program represent merely a demographic fact,” Jack Jedwab, president of the association for Canadian studies, said. “We’re not part of the previous government, the PQ government that developed this particular curriculum, which was designed to appeal to younger francophones, we’re not part of that reality.”

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However, those who helped design the new courses say that many ethnic groups were consulted.

“We have never had so much consultation for a history program,” Raymond Bédard, grade 10 history teacher, said. “All the communities, the natives, the English communities were consulted.”

Green says that those against the new history courses need to speak up.

“There needs to be push back,” Green said. “All over Quebec people need to be speaking out about this program.”

A spokesperson for the ministry of education says the grade 9 course was a pilot project last year while the grade 10 course is a pilot project this year.

Starting next year the new curriculum will be mandatory for all Quebec high schools.

Jedwab says that even though it’s a new idea, it doesn’t mean that it’s the right curriculum.

“It’s not because the curriculum they got ten years ago wasn’t good that we should settle for another one that isn’t good,” Jedwab said. “That’s not a justification for accepting what we’re being served up.”

Green believes there’s a financial motive behind the provincial Liberals keeping the program.

“The Liberal government was interested in reforming this program until the point it realized that would involve redoing the contracts to print the textbooks,” Green said.

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Those involved in the planning say politics and money have nothing to do with it.

“It was a pedagogical problem that was at the origin,” Bédard said. “The Parti Quebecois was in power so we met with the minister at that time and then after the Liberal government decided they would continue in that direction.”