B.C. Schools Make Indigenous Studies Classes Mandatory
Secondary students in public, independent, and offshore schools in B.C. will newly require four credits of Indigenous-focused coursework in order to graduate.
The Ministry of Education has enforced the change for students graduating in the 2023-2024 school year.
Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside says the new requirement will deepen students understanding of the “experiences, cultures, histories and knowledge of Indigenous Peoples."
“This will help us to understand the truths of our shared history, while also building knowledge so all students feel a sense of responsibility for our collective future.”
Stephen Petrucci, superintendent of schools for School District 60 in Fort St. John, added his thoughts: “This is not new to us, and that’s really important to underline,” said Petrucci. "It’s just that it’s going to become more of a systemic approach for all students to benefit from some that learning, and we’re going to make it as successful as possible."
Petrucci noted that guidelines will be influenced by the First Nations Education Steering Committee.
“What we’re excited about is that there’s the ability to incorporate local knowledge and history into those courses,” he said. “So we’re actually looking forward to the opportunity to put this together, but we’re also going to need some guidance.”
“It is early, so some of logistics and scheduling pieces to this will come later once the administration figure out how to deploy that," he said. "Our understanding is that there will be some transitions, some pilot courses and initiatives."
The ministry has launched an online survey to gather feedback on the proposed change, at engage.gov.bc.ca.