Close this search box.

Parochial Schools Reject New Mandatory Ethics Course

Some school wants to take a pass on the new ethics and religious-culture course that is to be mandatory in Quebec schools starting in the fall.

One of its goals is to foster harmonious social relations in Quebec. The government says students will learn about the important place of Catholicism and Protestantism in Quebec’s religious heritage, as well as the contributions of Judaism and native spiritualities. Elements of other religious traditions are also part of the course.

As for the ethics component, high school students, for example, will look at questions dealing with such issues as tolerance and justice.

Donovan said he objects to religious schools being told they must teach something “that is potentially contradictory” to their belief system.

Others have reservations about the course. Mendel Marasow, executive director of Beth Rivkah Academy, an Orthodox Jewish school, contends studying other religions contravenes Jewish law. He suggested some content might be problematic for his school to teach.

Charley Levy, director-general of the Association of Jewish Day Schools, said there have been changes to the program and attempts by the Education Department to reassure people. “Based on that, in good faith – pardon the pun – we’re going to try to implement the program to the best of our ability,” he said. The association represents 15 schools.

For the religious culture part of the course, the Education Department wants students to understand the significance of places of worship, beliefs and religious institutions in Quebec, said Denis Watters, the official responsible for the new program. But students won’t be initiated into religious practices, the government insists. “It’s a program about religious culture,” Watters said.


Leave a Reply

Popular Posts