Revision of the Ethics and Religious Culture program
The Ethics and Religious Culture (ERC) program aims to broaden students’ reflection on community life. Among other things, students acquire the tools necessary to carry out their duties as citizens in an ethical and responsible manner. The program is compulsory from Elementary 1 to Secondary V, except in Secondary III.
The Ethics and Religious Culture program is now undergoing revision. This process, which started in January 2020, aims to establish new and enriching themes to completely or partially replace the content associated with religious culture.
The resulting program, Culture and Citizenship in Québec, will replace ERC. This new program is currently being drafted for both elementary and secondary school. It will be gradually deployed in schools starting in the 2022-2023 school year and will be implemented throughout the network for the 2023-2024 school year.
Main areas of the new program
The new Culture and Citizenship in Québec program is based on three main areas, namely culture, citizenship in Québec and dialogue and critical thinking.
This area will bring students to appreciate and understand the culture that defines Québec society. At the end of their studies, students will feel part of Québec culture by having a better understanding of its foundations, the transformations it has gone through, its diversity and the various way in which culture can be expressed throughout the world. These concepts will help students to grasp the culture in which they are evolving and to understand that each society is influenced by its cultural context, its unique characteristics, its heritage, its institutions, its particularities, etc.
Citizenship in Québec
This area will enable students to understand the foundations of citizenship in Québec and the shared values of freedom, self-respect and respect for others, freedom of expression and conscience, equality for all and secularism. They will also be introduced to Québec’s democratic and judicial institutions and become familiar with how they function. Students will reflect on the new challenges of citizenship, particularly those related to the digital world and the environment. Media literary will help students to identify misinformation and learn to use media responsibly. The program will also address sexual education, including consent and sexual violence.
Students will therefore become familiar with individual and collective rights and freedoms, as well as the civic duties that every citizen must fulfill.
Dialogue and critical thinking
This area will enable students to develop their critical thinking skills by engaging in dialogue, while showing respect for others’ dignity. Students will examine and address moral dilemmas, along with cultural, religious, scientific and social references. They will need to evaluate and analyze these references and take a stand. Students will be equipped to argue in a respectful manner.
Québec citizens were invited to participate in an online public consultation and to share their opinions on some of the themes that could potentially be included in Québec’s curriculum. The consultation was held from January 10 to February 21, 2020. Anyone who wished to express their views on the program at greater length was invited to submit a brief.
The public’s participation has assisted the Ministère de l’Éducation and its partners in identifying content that will help meet students’ needs, as well as our expectations as a society.