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Canadians debate role of religion in education

Canada has struggled with the role of religion in public schools throughout the past half-century. The debate in recent decades is complicated by the fact that Canada is now home to so many different religions. From questioning the recitation of the Lord's Prayer in class to wearing ceremonial daggers at school, the right to exercise one's religion in public school classrooms remains the subject of fierce debate in Canada.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, a debate emerges in Canada between people who want to strengthen religious education in public schools and others who want to remove religion from the curriculum. The first group feels that teaching religion will reinforce traditional moral standards. The others say Canadian society has changed and schools should now be more secular. Excusing individual students from religious practices won't work because singling them out could harm them psychologically.
. In 1871, the first public school act established in Canada in Ontario stated schooling should be "universal, compulsory, religious and moral."
Medium: Radio
Program: Assignment
Broadcast Date: Feb. 27, 1959
Guest(s): William Jenkins, David McMaster-Kerr
Host: Maria Barrett, Bill McNeil
Reporter: John Kieran
Duration: 5:43

Last updated: May 8, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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