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Quebec looks to overhaul ethics and religious culture course

Online public consultations about the proposed overhaul to a Quebec ethics and religious culture course kick off on Friday and run until Feb. 21. Getty Images

The Quebec government is launching public consultations over its proposal to overhaul an ethics and religious culture course taught in the province’s schools.

Education Minister Jean‑François Roberge says the current course offered to students, which was rolled out 10 years ago under the Liberals, has been criticized by experts and staff from the education environment.

He instead wants the curriculum to offer students a “modern citizenship education course focused on self-respect” and other aspects.

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The public will be able to weigh in on several topics, including citizen participation and democracy, legal education, eco-citizenship, sex education, self and interpersonal development, ethics, digital citizenship and culture of societies.

The public consultations kick off Friday and will go until Feb. 21. Anyone who wants to submit a brief or their opinion can do so online.

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The province will also hold three days of hearings in February in Trois-Rivières, Quebec City and Montreal to hear from professionals and other stakeholders in the education system.

Heidi Yetman, president of the Quebec Provincial Teachers Association, said there is “nothing wrong” with revising the ethics and religious culture course, but the province’s decision came as a surprise.

“It’s not all bad, but I called the ministry this morning because we all found out through the news. It would have been nice to have a heads-up about this new consultation,” she said.

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After the public consultations are complete, a report with the findings will be presented to Roberge in the fall. It is expected to serve as a basis for creating the new course.

The new course is expected to be introduced in Quebec schools beginning in the 2022-23 school year.

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— With files from Global News’ Anne Leclair and the Canadian Press

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