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Quebec government hopes to improve ‘national history’ curriculum

MONTREAL – Quebec’s government announced on Monday that it will be taking steps to improve how history is taught in schools across the province.

Higher Education minister Pierre Duchesne and Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports, Marie Malavoy launched a government initiative that they hope will strengthen the teaching of history in primary and secondary schools, as well as in CEGEPs.

“A majority of Quebecers are dissatisfied with the teaching of history in Quebec. They think it is necessary to give young people an understanding of the historical figures and historical highlights,” said Minister Malavoy in a statement.

“The aim of strengthening the teaching of national history is to provide students with a deeper cultural background and develop the identity and culture of Quebec.”

According to the release, two people have been given a mandate to study the issue.

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Jacques Beauchemin, the interim director general of the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF), and Nadia Fahmy-Eid, a history professor at the Université du Québec à Montréal, will consult with teachers and historians in order to create guidelines that will lead to the development of a new history curriculum in elementary and secondary schools.

A report is to be tabled by the end of the year and pilot projects are expected to be rolled out in September 2014.

The government also aims to introduce a new compulsory course for CEGEPs that would cover Quebec’s national history within the next 12 months, which is also expected to be launched in 2014.

“The time has come to discuss what defines us,” said Minister Duchesne.

“The teaching of history, as well as the ability to analyze the events that make up our collective identity and to discuss openly with dedicated teachers will help young adults at CEGEP to develop their critical-thinking skills and gain a better understanding of our society.”

The public will have an opportunity to share its views on the issue via the Ministry of Education, Recreation and Sports (MELS) website.

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