January 19, 2017

Montreal, January 19, 2017 – The Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) joined Directors Generals, Administrators, pedagogical directors and consultants, teachers, and the Quebec Community Groups Network in a consultation on the new history program with Ministry of Education officials on January 12th. The Ministry called the consultation meeting in response to concerns raised by minority communities regarding the content and management of the new program.

While QESBA maintains that it is premature to review the new course as the full program has not yet completed the pilot project phase, there was consensus that pedagogically the new program is a vast improvement over the previous one. The organization of the course over two academic years, the greater teacher flexibility, and the opportunity for integration of current events as well as extra time for students to explore specific topics in depth were highlighted as positive. In addition, the availability of some English resources simultaneously with the French was praised.

Ministry officials were open to discussion on content issues such as the lack of representation and importance of all minority communities and their collective contributions.

“There is a serious lack of minority community content and role models in the history course. It is important that students see that the contributions of their ancestors in Quebec and Canada is respected,” said QESBA President Jennifer Maccarone. “The course must be inclusive of all who have played a role. If students don’t see themselves and their communities in the subject matter, they will feel disconnected, unrepresented, and are less likely to feel that they have a real place in the future of this country. There is also a specific Quebec perspective in the current curriculum and, as our colleagues noted, history must be honest and taught in a politically, socially, and economically objective manner.

It was a positive meeting. The representatives from the Ministry were very engaged and expressed a willingness to incorporate changes into the program. We will leave it up to Ministry officials to properly translate concrete improvements in the new history course. QESBA and our partners will be following this very closely over the coming months,” concluded the President.