Worldview Education in Canadian Public Schools: Demographics, Dilemmas and Directions

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 09:00
Oral Presentation
Christine CUSACK, University of Ottawa, Canada
Worldview education plays an essential role in shaping students' understanding about the challenges and opportunities of living in a diverse society. Just as national conversations over religion, non-religion, and belief in the public sphere continue to unfold in numerous plural democracies, the role of worldview education in public classrooms is likewise under scrutiny. Across Canada, the academic literature shows little to no consensus on approaches to worldview education, broadly speaking. The province of Quebec, however, implemented an obligatory Ethics and Religious Culture Program in all of its primary and secondary schools nearly a decade ago. This program stands in contrast to other provincial education curriculum where worldview literacy is integrated into other academic subjects or not offered at all. At this juncture, the Ethics and Religious Culture Program—once considered an innovative pedagogical approach to the shifting societal landscape of diversity—has recently come under review by the provincial government. Taking into consideration rising trends of religious ‘nones,’ calls for changes to education policy by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the evolution of the definition of creed in provincial human rights codes, this paper examines the directions, dilemmas and demographics which intersect with educational imperatives for worldview literacy.