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