‘Cultural sensitivity’ part of overhaul
Province’s new curriculum to reflect Alberta’s diversity
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
alberta Education Minister david Eggen talks to media at Mcdougall centre on thursday.