New requirements have been put in place for all B.C. secondary students, ensuring that they complete Indigenous-focused coursework in order to be eligible to graduate from the K-12 education system.
The new coursework requirements are expected to take effect in the 2023-2024 school year. Under the proposed model, students who are currently in Grade 10 would be the first group to complete this new requirement.
“We are deeply committed to lasting and meaningful reconciliation in B.C., guided by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples while working co-operatively with Indigenous Peoples across the province to address the knowledge gaps in our K-12 curriculum,” said Minister of Education Jennifer Whiteside in a press release.
According to School District 54 Superintendent Mike McDiarmid, the details of how the implementation of the new course requirements will take place are still unclear, though he supports the idea.
“How we meet the new requirements has not been fully worked through yet by the province, but I can say in general terms that increasing awareness for staff and students about Indigenous cultures and communities has been a long standing goal for our school district. So from that standpoint, we view this as a positive development although we will have to clarify how our students will meet the requirement,” said McDiarmid.
“We believe all students benefit from knowing more about our collective history and the Indigenous communities around us. Increased education will support students and the entire community as we move forward in the reconciliation process,” he continued.
According to McDiarmid, as of now, he doesn’t expect the school district to have to bring in more employees to be able to meet the requirements. “While I don’t have the specifics yet, I believe we will have qualified teachers who can deliver this content without needing to hire others,” he said.
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