Column by Francine Pelletier: “In Quebec, that’s how we live”

We would have thought we were Everybody talks about it, last Sunday, during the official announcement of the new Culture and Quebec Citizenship (CCQ) course. In addition to prominent politicians, a bunch of well-known personalities – Pierre Curzi, Ingrid Falaise and the ex-madman of the king himself, Dany Turcotte – brightened the scene. Each had come to plant his nail: the promotion of culture (Curzi), the problem of domestic violence (Falaise) and that of social networks (Turcotte). All topped off with a video where many ministers, including the PM, went there with their enthusiastic sales pitch.

If few people dispute the need to review, 13 years after its creation, the Ethics and Religious Culture (ECR) course, one can wonder how the program to replace it, CCQ, will be able to perform well. collection of topical subjects – relevant, no doubt, but how many disparate – does it constitute a valid, coherent educational material?

Not only does the CCQ course focus on three main areas – culture, citizenship and critical thinking – it also draws on eight main themes: democracy, legal education, ecology, sex education, self-development and interpersonal relationships, ethics, digital citizenship and the culture of societies. Just that. I would not like to be the man or the woman-orchestra having to combine, for a little three quarters of an hour a week, with so many complex subjects. If the ECR course has often been criticized as being too “vague”, a “catch-all”, the teachers always lacking the time and sometimes the training to be able to teach it correctly, what can be said about such a mess?

Imagine for a moment what this new proposal requires. “To learn the foundations, the evolution and the various forms of Quebec culture”, the number one objective of the new program, implies knowledge not only of the history of Quebec, but also of its literature, music, its cinema, its visual arts. There are already teachers, very well trained, who have been giving such courses for a long time. They do it well and often with passion. Even in elementary school, it is not uncommon to talk about Quebec culture. What is this little last minute sprinkling for?

The other two axes, citizenship and critical thinking, probably require notions of law, philosophy, ecology, sexology, feminism. Besides, what does sex education do in learning citizenship? The minister is proposing to combine the two at the present time. How does the most intimate part of someone (sexuality) combine with civic duty? Mr. Roberge has admitted in the past that he wants to prioritize sex education. So let him do it. There are very good educator sexologists in Quebec who could design a course worthy of the name. What’s the point of dipping your toes in water if you never manage to dive in?

It’s no secret that the real motivation behind this appetizer buffet is more political than educational. This is the reason why two of the five members of the expert committee responsible for drafting the program recently resigned, we learn. The duty. Other resignations are being considered for fear of politicization of education. “We feel in the middle of an election campaign,” said a source. This is also the reason why professors were held at arm’s length during the consultation process and why the briefs received were never made public. And that, on behalf of a minister who claims to rise, with this new version, against the “censors” and for the “freedom of expression”.

The Ethics and Religious Culture course – which, by the way, fulfilled the task of confronting students with “moral dilemmas” – did not suit the Legault government for obvious reasons: in the age of secularism. , there was definitely too much emphasis on religion. We saw it as a sly indoctrination of Canadian multiculturalism. It was necessary to make a clean sweep to better plant the “values” of here and, of course, to boost “Quebec pride”.

We know how much he works there, François Legault, to Quebec pride. Let us remember his heartfelt cry, “In Quebec, that’s how we live”, during a televised message aimed at affirming, following the adoption of Bill 21, the need for Quebec to impose its own rules. We obviously like that the PM loves Quebec. No one will hold it against him for wanting to protect the specificity of the French-speaking nation. However, as Louis Rousseau, co-designer of the ECR course, reminds us, “pride cannot be an educational objective, pride cannot be measured”.

And then, who are we talking about when we talk about pride and Quebec citizenship? asks the president of the Autonomous Federation of Education, Sylvain Mallette. Without ever having bothered to evaluate the ECR course, the Legault government is sweeping away the study of religious cultures, perceived as foreign to us, to establish a program, in many respects redundant, of Quebec culture. In doing so, we are simply swapping one bias for another.

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