Nick Benson

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Quebec to take ethics and religious culture out of school curriculum

The government of Quebec is about to eliminate its Ethics and Religious Culture curriculum, which replaced catechesis in schools in 2008.

In announcing a public consultation about what should replace the program, Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge said there’s still “too much” religion in schools.

This revision process “is part of the government’s desire to offer students a modern citizenship education course based on respect for oneself and others,” he said.

Citizens have until 21st February to participate in an online consultation in order to ‘establish new themes that will enrich the curriculum and replace, in whole or in part, the notions of religious culture’. The suggested themes are: citizen participation, legal education, eco-citizenship, sexual education, self-knowledge, ethics, digital citizenship and the culture of societies. It’s only in the eighth and last theme, the one about the culture of societies, that the word ‘religion’ is discreetly mentioned.

The new curriculum that will result from these consultations will be tested in some schools during the 2021-2022 school year, then will be implemented in all Quebec schools beginning in September 2022.

However, many experts are calling this move a “bad idea.” For instance, sociologist Martin Geoffroy, director of the Centre for Expertise and Training on Religious Fundamentalism, Political Ideologies and Radicalisation, stressed that “scientific understanding of religion promotes tolerance”.

Picture: The government of Quebec is about to scratch its ethics and religious culture curriculum that replaced catechesis in schools in 2008. (CNS photo/Philippe Vaillancourt, Presence).

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