Education minister promises new history curriculum will be more representative
Sébastien Proulx seeks to reassure critics who worry pilot curriculum lacks diversity
The province's controversial new high school history curriculum will be changed to make it more representative of Quebec society, Education Minister Sébastien Proulx said Friday.
- Real Talk on Race: The full series
A new version of the curriculum was drafted by the previous Parti Québécois government, and is currently being circulated as part of a pilot project. A copy was obtained by CBC News.
But the curriculum has attracted criticism for failing to represent the diversity of the province's history.
Aboriginal activists have expressed dismay there is scant mention of residential schools. History teachers who have seen the curriculum say many immigrant communities, such as the Irish, Italians, Greek and Caribbean populations, also get little mention.
Proulx sought to assure the curriculum's critics that he is listening to their concerns. He indicated they would be incorporated into the final version.
"I know there will be modifications in the weeks ahead," Proulx told reporters in Montreal. "We'll take the time we need to ensure it's a program that reflects who we are."
The course currently being circulated was developed following the 2012 election campaign, during which the PQ promised to emphasize Quebec's struggle for nationhood in the provincial school curriculum.
That version is not without its supporters. Gilles Laporte, a spokesperson for the Coalition pour l'histoire, described the new curriculum as a "huge improvement."
Laporte, who also teaches history at the Cégep du Vieux Montréal, said it streamlines pedagogical material, allowing teachers to address certain subjects in more depth.
He dismissed as an "old complaint" concerns that the high school curriculum focuses too narrowly on the English and French empire aspects of Quebec's early history.
"Quebec has a big colonial background, and that cannot be [avoided]," he said. "We have to explore our colonial background."