[Opinion] If education follows the spirit of the times

After his interview with Everyone is talking about itwritten here by Normand Baillargeon on Saturday, at The duty on May 7: “Correct these evils [de l’école québécoise] that we are properly limited can be a huge task. To begin with, this requires agreeing on objectives [….]. Because once these goals are known, we have to decide on the best way to achieve them. »

Good news: these goals are already “agreed”. And since 1948! In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations proclaims that “education shall aim at the full development of the human personality and at the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms”.

In 1959, in its declaration of the rights of the child in 1959, the UN stated: the child “should benefit from an education that contributes to his or her overall culture and enables him or her, under conditions of equitable opportunity, to develop his skills, his personal judgment and his sense of moral and social responsibility and to be a useful member of society “.

This declaration inspired the Parent Commission of 1962-1966, which amended it as follows: the school must continue for three purposes: to ensure equal opportunities, allow every child to achieve maximum of its possibilities, to ensure life readiness. .

Then, the law creating the Ministry of Education (1964) reiterated the main purpose of education: “Every child has the right to benefit from an education system that promotes the full development of his personality”.

In short, everything is said and repeated about this topic. However, every 10 or 15 years, the Quebec school experiences a new crisis and voices are calling for a new investigation.

So, 13 years after the Parent report, Minister Jean-Yvan Morin launched a major consultation on his Green Paper. He sees that “things are not going well in the public school”. In 1979, he gave birth to the Orange Book, a policy statement and plan of action. It begins with a statement of educational purposes that essentially repeats previous statements and sets the values ​​on which it is based.

Then, in 1990, Minister Jean Garon convened the Estates General on Education and once again held a “major consultation” and launched a new reform. The next will not wait 13 years. In 1997, Minister Pauline Marois created a working group led by Paul Inchauspé, whose report entitled: Testify again at school.

Normand Baillargeon uses the same pattern today: “Quebec, he writes, should participate in an extensive collective educational consultation.”

In fact, the school problem is not related to its ends, nor even to the explicit objectives prescribed to be pursued by the Basic Education Regimes. They are perfectly aligned with the purposes of education. The problem lies elsewhere, and it is the relevance of study programs that is often questioned about the evolution of society and the many and conflicting expectations.

Here is an example. In the early 1980s, a home economics course was introduced. We want the school to prepare for real life and promote equality for women and men. So, my son learned to sew boxer shorts and my daughter made a beautiful mobile wooden turtle! Until the Estates General on Education in 1995 ruled that schools had to return to “essential knowledge”. And the course is missing from the curriculum.

So far, Minister Jean-François Roberge has decided to replace the controversial Ethics and Religious Culture program with a new one titled Culture and Quebec Citizenship. It is based on three main axes: “Culture, Quebec citizenship as well as dialogue and critical thinking. The goals are to” guide the student to a full understanding of his or her culture “,” to understand the foundations of Quebec citizenship and the values ​​attached to it ”and, ultimately, to“ develop its critical spirit through the practice of dialogue and ethics. meditate with respect for the dignity of others. ” Very good. But how long will this program last? The stakes are open. And why not an elementary school hockey lesson?

In fact, education follows the spirit of the times and the pressures of public opinion. Real issues are above all of an institutional nature. If you drop or modify a study program, the teachers concerned suffer and the university’s training programs.

If there were tombstones from programs abandoned since the Parent reform, the cemetery would be cluttered!

To be seen in the video

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