On Friday, January 10th, the Minister of Education, François Roberge, announced a change in the mandatory Ethics and Religious Culture course taught throughout Québec. Beginning in 2022, the proposed curriculum would include subjects like sexual education, “eco-citizenship”, legal knowledge and citizen participation. These new ideals are, without a doubt both noble and progressive, yet the government has ignored the many difficulties that would make the implementation of this new course, simply put, not advantageous to the youth of Québec.
As important as it is to educate students on climate change and political literacy, what guarantee do we have that this change to the curriculum won’t be introduced in the same way as the addition of the finance course in 2018? Unqualified teachers will be repurposed, the first few cohorts will serve as lab rats for the course and they will not gain anything from it. At this point, one must give the Minister of Education the concession that the previous Ethics and Religious Culture course focused far too heavily on religion, placing an emphasis on religious coexistence as the sole pillar of societal harmony, which it certainly is not.
Despite this, it remains that completely restructuring the course will bring more harm than it will good. It will force the public school system, which already faces much strain from overcrowding and high dropout rates, to retrain teachers, a process with which the government is unlikely to be of much help.
Originally Published in Bandersnatch Vol.49 Issue 08 on January 29th, 2020