‘Cul­tural sen­si­tiv­ity’ part of over­haul

Prov­ince’s new cur­ricu­lum to re­flect Al­berta’s di­ver­sity

Metro Canada (Edmonton) - - Edmonton - Lu­cie Ed­ward­son ini­tia­tivE

Al­berta’s Ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter said the big­gest thing he’s learned — and plans to put in prac­tice — while work­ing on his cur­ricu­lum over­haul is that it should “re­flect the com­po­si­tion of our prov­ince.”

Ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter David Eggen launched the six-year over­haul of the prov­ince’s cur­ricu­lum in June 2016, and said the new cur­ricu­lum will fo­cus on strong nu­mer­acy and lit­er­acy but will be in­fused with prin­ci­ples of em­pa­thy, jus­tice and equity.

He told Metro dur­ing an ed­i­to­rial board meet­ing Thurs­day that for the last year he’s been trav­el­ing around the prov­ince col­lect­ing sub­mis­sions for the new cur­ricu­lum — some of which is more than 30 years old — from stake­hold­ers in­clud­ing, banks, fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions, mil­i­tary his­to­ri­ans, veter­ans and more.

Eggen said the other ini­tia­tive he’s cur­rently in­volved in — the anti-racism ini­tia­tive he was tasked by the premier to lead — has helped him in his quest to im­prove Al­berta’s cur­ricu­lum.

“It re­ally is an im­por­tant el­e­ment, I’ve rec­og­nized over the last few weeks, the im­por­tance of hav­ing the cur­ricu­lum re­flect the com­po­si­tion of our prov­ince as well,” he said.

Eggen said mak­ing the cur­ricu­lum rep­re­sent Al­berta’s di­ver­sity is “long over­due,” and said he’s been ac­cept­ing sub­mis­sions from var­i­ous cul­tural groups as well.

“It’s re­ally a pow­er­ful tool. I can just see peo­ple light up,” he said.

The min­is­ter said he’s heard sug­ges­tions of in­clud­ing more themes around in­clu­siv­ity, di­ver­sity and cul­tural sen­si­tiv­ity from stake­hold­ers.

“Equal­ity, so­cial jus­tice, and anti-racism are all things that will have a good dose in the cur­ricu­lum to in­oc­u­late the prob­lems we see right now,” he said.

On Wed­nes­day, Metro re­ported

Min­is­ter Eggen has met with more than 80 groups for his anti-racism ini­tia­tive. Al­ber­tans can also fill out a sur­vey at Al­berta.ca that Eggen had met with a Cal­gary teacher who was the sub­ject of a racist tirade while she was on va­ca­tion near Win­nipeg to dis­cuss ways to com­bat th­ese so­cial is­sues.

She sug­gested that cul­tural and re­li­gious dif­fer­ences be in­cluded in the pro­vin­cial cur­ricu­lum some­how.

Eggen said Thurs­day he’s heard time and again of the need for “cul­tural aware­ness train­ing.”

“If we start with ed­u­ca­tion we’ll build this aware­ness in health care, the jus­tice sys­tem — and so on,” he said.

The new cur­ricu­lum will also change the way stu­dents are taught about res­i­den­tial schools and Canada’s in­dige­nous his­tory, us­ing in­put from rep­re­sen­ta­tives of in­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties.

The new cur­ricu­lum will be de­vel­oped for K-4 by late 2018, for Grades 5-8 the fol­low­ing year, and for high school in phases from 2020 to 2022. The work will be funded by more than $64 mil­lion that’s al­ready al­lo­cated to the ed­u­ca­tion bud­get.

i’ve rec­og­nized the im­por­tance of hav­ing the cur­ricu­lum re­flect the com­po­si­tion of our prov­ince David eggen

Jen­nifer friesen/for Metro

al­berta Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter david Eggen talks to me­dia at Mcdougall cen­tre on thurs­day.

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