BC introduces Indigenous-focused course requirement for K-12 school system

Mar 5 2022, 1:08 am

The BC government is implementing a new requirement that will ensure all secondary students complete Indigenous-focused coursework before they graduate.

“We are deeply committed to lasting and meaningful reconciliation in BC — 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.

Next week, BC’s Ministry of Education will launch an online public engagement to gain feedback on the proposed approach to implementing the new graduation requirement.

According to a press release, the ministry will also consult with Indigenous communities and K-12 partners throughout the spring, while the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) will facilitate information sharing with First Nations.

Students currently in Grade 10 would be the first group to complete this new requirement, starting in September 2023.

The new requirement will apply to all students in public, independent, and offshore schools and make BC the first Canadian province/jurisdiction to implement this type of requirement.

The new Indigenous-focused course requirement is one of the actions identified in BC’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act Draft Action Plan, as part of a broader Indigenous-specific anti-racism and discrimination strategy for the K-12 system, on which First Nations were consulted in 2021.

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