Quebec is unveiling details of a new course intended to replace a polarizing class on ethics and religious culture that’s been taught in the province’s schools for more than a decade.
Education Minister Jean-François Roberge released highlights of the new program, dubbed Culture and Citizenship in Quebec, at a news 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.
Roberge said the class aims to provide cohesion as well as fight against 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 put too much emphasis on multiculturalism.
Indigenous history and culture will also be included in the curriculum. According to a statement from Indigenous Affairs Minister Ian Lafrenière, members of the First Nations and Inuit communities were involved in the consultation process.
But while the government claims it will embrace all cultures, some members of the anglophone community aren’t so sure.
“He’s not going to impose on us what our language and our culture is all about,” says English Montreal School Board Chair Joe Ortona, who also called the new course contradictory.
“If he really wants to protect freedom of expression, he should take a good look at some of the bills he passed that used the notwithstanding clause to violate freedom of expression,” added Ortona.
The new program will be introduced in some schools as a pilot project in September 2022 before being fully implemented across all of the province’s elementary and high schools a year later.
–with files from The Canadian Press