Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Back to the Future - STUDENT VOICE

Back to the Future:

Back to the Future

In Quebec, Canada, the Marois government just announced there will be a mandatory history class for all CEGEP, a form of post-secondary school, students starting this September. This new course would very likely be focusing on “contemporary Quebec history” from the 1970s to today, a period often neglected by high school teachers in order to prepare students for the ministry exam that contains basically 80% of “prehistory” knowledge, including details about Iroquoian traditions and hundreds of French-against-English battles. On top of mandatory classes in the areas of French, English, Philosophy, and Physical Education, Marois wishes to add another 2 units of history class, replacing one of the only two complementary courses outside of the students’ study field. Voices of dissent coming from students are being drowned out by the more favourable opinions from mostly baby-boomers: the question is, what may be behind this seemingly simple request of “better understanding a nation’s past”?
Considering the majority of CEGEP students have a part time job of at least 16 hours per week and the tight schedule already imposed by their ongoing programs, it’s very demanding to add another new course to the grid. But with youth disengaged from politics and social issues, the “Anglo-Saxon cultural invasion” from the last decade’s immigration wave, and the age of Facebook-Twitter-Instagram domination, what remains fifty years after the ambitious Quiet Revolution (révolution tranquille)? What future awaits Quebec’s younger generations? Can we completely get rid of the odor of centuries of religious domination and ethnic inequalities? The answer seems to be negative, as the presence of Bouchard-Taylor’s Commission on cultural and religious reasonable accommodation practices still lingers around us, as the most recent Quebec Charter of Values unites and separates Quebecois of all origins. The issues are still the same, only addressed differently, formulated with different words. The reality is that living together has never been so challenging: sometimes disoriented, sometimes unpredictable, the society inherited by our generation certainly requires much more taming and training to actually make it work. But does a simple study of past actions and event