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Culture and Quebec Citizenship will replace the former Ethics and Religious Culture program

Press release - The Ethics and Religious Culture program will be replaced by Culture and Quebec Citizenship. The new themes of the program will be based on three main axes: culture, Quebec citizenship as well as dialogue and critical thinking. The program will be implemented throughout the network at the start of the 2023 school year.

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Press release - The program Ethics and Religious Culture will be replaced by Quebec culture and citizenship. The Minister of Education, Jean-François Roberge, made the announcement, along with the Minister for Education and Minister responsible for the Status of Women, Isabelle Charest, and the Member for Richelieu and Parliamentary Assistant to the 'Education, Jean-Bernard Émond, in the context of the in-depth overhaul of the old program.

The program will undergo a major transformation and will allow Quebec students to develop critical thinking while deepening their understanding of Quebec culture and citizenship. The drafting of the study program, both for primary and secondary, has started to allow gradual deployment in schools from the start of the 2022 school year. 

The new themes of the program will be based on three main axes: culture, Quebec citizenship as well as dialogue and critical thinking. The program will be implemented throughout the network at the start of the 2023 school year.

Culture

The first axis, culture, will lead students to take an interest in and understand culture, by highlighting Quebec culture, the one that defines our society. They will thus be led, at the end of their career, to fully understand our culture, particularly its foundations, its evolution, its ambassadors as well as its flagship works and the various forms that culture can take all over the world. This will allow students to grasp the culture in which they operate and understand that each society is influenced by a different cultural context and that is what makes a culture distinct. It is therefore the duty of each nation to protect and promote its culture, heritage and particularities.

Quebec citizenship

The second axis will allow students to grasp the foundations of Quebec citizenship. Thus, they will be able to share the values as well as the fundamental principles of civic life, such as respect for oneself and others, freedom of expression and conscience, equality between all and secularism. These values are at the heart of the struggles that are dear to us, such as the fight against sexism, racism and homophobia. THE

Pupils will also be introduced to democratic and judicial institutions in Quebec in order to familiarize themselves with how they work. Media literacy will lead them to flush out fake news and develop a more responsible use of social media. They will also be asked to reflect on the new challenges of citizenship, particularly in the digital age and environmental issues.

Issues of sex education, including hypersexualization, consent and sexual exploitation, will also be addressed in the program. More broadly, students will be able to familiarize themselves with individual and collective rights and freedoms as well as with the civic duties of each citizen.

Dialogue and critical thinking

The last axis, which concerns dialogue, critical thinking and ethics, is fundamental. It transcends the program. Students will develop their critical thinking through the practice of dialogue. They will be asked to question themselves and to tackle moral dilemmas, to examine cultural, religious, scientific and social references, as well as to evaluate and analyze them in order to position themselves in relation to them.

In this period when censorship is taking more and more place in our society, it is essential to defend freedom of expression and to equip our young people to allow them to argue with respect.

Remember that the new program Quebec culture and citizenship was born out of a consultation process involving the population, the education network and its partners as well as indigenous peoples. It is also in line with the follow-up given to the report of the Commission of Inquiry on Relations between Indigenous Peoples and Certain Public Services: Listening, Reconciliation and Progress, to the new Concerted Action Plan to Prevent and Counter Bullying and cyberbullying by the government of Quebec, the report of the Action Group against racism and the report of the Special Commission on the sexual exploitation of minors of the National Assembly.

Highlights

  • The program Ethics and Religious Culture has been the subject of numerous criticisms which necessitated its in-depth revision.
  • Before its establishment in the network, the course Quebec culture and citizenship will be subject to a rigorous and proven validation process with various committees and partners in the education network.
  • The aims of the course will also be reviewed in order to allow students to practice dialogue and develop their critical thinking as well as unhindered ethical reflection.
  • Training will be offered to teachers to support them in the implementation.
  • The reform of the program is also an opportunity to integrate the content of sexuality education within a program extending from the beginning of primary to the end of secondary in order to improve the current offer. It will also allow teaching staff to call on partners and external professionals.
  • Issues related to First Nations and Inuit will be addressed and developed in collaboration with Indigenous partners.

Quotes

“Calls for censorship, polarization on social networks as well as new controversies around freedom of expression are all indicators of a crying need for the return of a true democratic dialogue. These new issues, in addition to the results of the old course, alone motivate this in-depth reform. The extensive consultation with partners and the network enabled us to identify new elements to integrate, but also those to keep and improve, particularly those relating to dialogue. The implementation of this new program is excellent news; it prepares young people in Quebec for the exercise of citizenship, by allowing them to have a better understanding of our culture while addressing essential content. I am convinced that the next generations will have the necessary tools to exercise their Quebec citizenship and face the challenges of tomorrow. " 

Jean-François Roberge, Minister of Education 

“We need to instill the values of self-respect and respect for others in girls and boys from an early age to enable them to develop the foundations for healthy, violence-free relationships. With this course, we are laying the foundations for a society of tomorrow that is more egalitarian, more respectful and more secure. Education is the basis of prevention. "

Isabelle Charest, Minister responsible for Education and Minister responsible for the Status of Women

“Unfortunately, sexual exploitation and violence against women are realities in Quebec. Your government has embarked on massive efforts to combat these despicable phenomena. More needs to be done, earlier in our children's lives, to break these cycles and integrate the notions of consent, equal relationships, empathy, respect and assertiveness. The new program will open a dialogue on these fundamental topics. "

Geneviève Guilbault, Deputy Premier, Minister of Public Security and Minister responsible for the Capitale-Nationale region

“Quebec culture is rich, alive and vast. I am delighted that the students have the opportunity to discover or rediscover local artists and their works thanks to this new program. They will be able to vibrate together to the rhythm of our culture, while appropriating Quebec's creative genius. "

Nathalie Roy, Minister of Culture and Communications

“Teaching young people to live together and to fight against racism and discrimination throughout their school career is an essential objective. This was one of the recommendations made by the Action Group against Racism (GACR) in the report it tabled last year and that I have the mandate to put in place. I am also convinced that our young people will find it very interesting to examine the various environmental issues, because I know that they are thirsty to take action to help Quebec fight against climate change. "

Benoit Charette, Minister of the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change and Minister responsible for the Fight against Racism

“First, I would like to thank the First Nations and Inuit representatives who participated in the consultative process for the redesign of the RCT course. Partners from these communities will continue to be called upon to make young people aware of today's indigenous realities. I hope that this concrete action will help bring our nations together. "

Ian Lafrenière, Minister responsible for Native Affairs

“The new program will allow young people to understand the role and become familiar with the functioning of our democratic and judicial institutions. It will also allow them to seize all the road traveled to lead to the secularism of the State, that is to say the separation between the State and religions. Thus, students will be better informed and above all better equipped to make choices in the different spheres of their life. "

Simon Jolin-Barrette, Minister of Justice, Minister responsible for the French Language and Minister responsible for Secularism

“The challenges of citizenship in the digital age are more real than ever. I am convinced that the content related to good practices as well as online interpersonal skills will make it possible to fight against online harassment and to prepare our young people to communicate better. "

Éric Caire, Minister responsible for Government Digital Transformation and Minister responsible for Access to Information and the Protection of Personal Information

“I hope that the important place of dialogue within this new program will lead to a greater openness to the differences which, fundamentally, characterize us all. Respect for others is the key to preventing bullying. "  

Mathieu Lacombe, Minister of Families

" The lesson Quebec culture and citizenship was the result of a comprehensive consultation process. I am very proud to have participated and I would like to thank all the participants as well as all the people who submitted a brief. Your thoughts and your desire to improve things have greatly contributed to the development of this new course. I am convinced that our discussions during the consultations will allow the students to acquire a better understanding of society and thus fully take their place and better integrate into the society in which they evolve. " 

Jean-Bernard Émond, Member of Parliament for Richelieu and Parliamentary Assistant for Education

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