Roundtable fo­cuses on in­te­grat­ing di­ver­sity into cur­ricu­lum

Calgary Herald - - CITY+REGION - CLARE CLANCY [email protected]­media.com twit­ter.com/clare­clancy

ED­MON­TON The K-12 cur­ricu­lum over­haul will in­clude feed­back from var­i­ous faiths and cul­tures in order to bet­ter re­flect Al­berta’s cur­rent makeup, says Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter David Eggen.

“Some parts of our cur­ricu­lum are over 30 years old so they’re due an update,” he told re­porters Thurs­day, speak­ing at a roundtable that brought to­gether more than 20 com­mu­nity rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

“Al­berta is a very fast-grow­ing pop­u­la­tion, it’s the youngest pop­u­la­tion in Canada and people are com­ing here from all over the world ... we need to fos­ter un­der­stand­ing every step of the way.”

Par­tic­i­pants in­cluded groups such as the Six­ties Scoop Indige­nous So­ci­ety of Al­berta, the Cen­tre for Race and Cul­ture as well as the Mus­lim As­so­ci­a­tion of Canada.

It’s all part of Al­berta’s $64-mil­lion cur­ricu­lum re­view, sched­uled to be com­pleted in 2022. The United Con­ser­va­tive Party has raised con­cerns that the process isn’t trans­par­ent.

Eggen said the cur­ricu­lum’s in­cor­po­ra­tion of di­ver­sity cor­re­lates to his anti-racism re­port, which was re­leased in July and promised to launch a pro­vin­cial hate-crimes unit with po­lice.

At the time, Eggen also an­nounced the prov­ince would es­tab­lish the gov­ern­ment’s first an­tiracism ad­vi­sory council and would award $2 mil­lion in grants to small or­ga­ni­za­tions to fight racism.

“We can help to work with chil­dren at a young age to fos­ter ac­cep­tance and in­clu­sion, they will carry those val­ues with them for the rest of their lives,” he said.

Mona Nash­man-Smith, ad­viser to the Ed­mon­ton Is­lamic Academy board of trus­tees and prin­ci­pals, said she hopes to con­trib­ute her ex­pe­ri­ence with in­ter­faith learn­ing to the dis­cus­sion.

“The problem with any cur­ricu­lum de­vel­op­ment is ‘how do we sus­tain learn­ing ?’” she said. “These dis­cus­sions con­tinue re­gard­less of who is in that po­lit­i­cal chair.

“As Mus­lim Cana­di­ans we want to stand tall with our broth­ers and sis­ters across all faiths and re­ally com­bat this ha­tred we’re see­ing spread­ing.”

Gil­lian Horwitz with the Jewish Fed­er­a­tion of Ed­mon­ton also par­tic­i­pated in Thurs­day ’s roundtable.

“Ed­u­ca­tion, un­der­stand­ing and knowl­edge about dif­fer­ent groups in a di­verse so­ci­ety is the most im­por­tant key in learn­ing how to live to­gether in har­mony,” she said, adding that pow­er­ful ex­am­ples from the holo­caust can ex­plain the dan­gers of in­tol­er­ance and ha­tred to teens in high school.

CLARE CLANCY

Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter David Eggen holds a roundtable to dis­cuss di­ver­sity in the K-12 cur­ricu­lum on Thurs­day.

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