Quebec schools to celebrate diverse holidays
A new course on ethics and religious culture has at least one private school protesting the curriculum
By INGRID PERITZ
Tuesday, September 2, 2008 Page A11
MONTREAL — Quebec schools won’t be marking the arrival of just Christmas any more – now they will be required to note the passage of holidays like Hanukkah and Eid al-Adha, Diwali and the birth of the Sikh guru Nanak.
The dates on the school calendar are part of a controversial new course on ethics and religious culture that makes its debut in classrooms across Quebec this year.
It’s a historic shift in a province defined by Catholic and Protestant education for nearly two centuries. But there’s disagreement over whether the classes are a confusing buffet of moral choices, or a model of diversity for the rest of Canada.
At least one school isn’t happy with it, and is considering going to court in protest
Loyola High School in Montreal has been teaching boys for 112 years, among them former governor-general Georges Vanier and Conservative Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. Now, more than 600 parents at the private Catholic school have asked for exemptions to allow their children to opt out of the course.
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