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Quebec: No Religion in Subsidized Daycares

Quebec: No Religion in Subsidized Daycares

The Province of Quebec in Canada is known as a leader in subsidized daycare in North America. All children in the province have the right to a subsidized daycare space at a price of $7 per day. This program, which was initially introduced in 1998, saw significant results in its first 10 years. It helped to:

  • Reduce child poverty
  • Increase school scores
  • Increase the birth rate
  • Increase maternal workforce participation and postsecondary enrollment of women

The daycare system in Quebec is, essentially, an extension of the public education system. Over the past couple of years, the Province of Quebec has made widespread changes to the religion and ethics curriculum in its schools.
While it used to have Protestant and Catholic public school boards and used to provide religious instruction in schools, the province has recently removed the religious designations from its schools and also revised its curriculum so that it no longer teaches faith-based material. 

Instead, the new Ethics and Religious Culture program teaches children about human rights, about different religious traditions and beliefs, and about ethics and values. The goal of the curriculum is to broaden students’ horizons and to “make it possible to offer the same education to all Quebec students while respecting the freedom of conscience and religion of parents, students and teachers.”

Today, the Quebec government announced that it is extending the secularization of its public education system into the subsidized daycare program. Yolande James, the Quebec Family Minister, announced that daycares will not be allowed to teach prayers or any religious doctrine if they wish to continue receiving subsidies. Day cares will be allowed to have religious symbols on the premises, but will not be allowed to teach children about them. Religious leaders (e.g. Imams, Rabbis, Priests) will also no longer be permitted to visit subsidized daycare centres.

According to Minister James, around 100 daycares in the Montreal region have a religious focus and will need to revise their curriculum to remove the religious elements. The daycares will have until June to make the required changes, after which time they could lose some or all of their subsidies.

This move seems in line with the increased secularlization of Quebec society and the push to recognize the numerous different cultures and religions that are represented in the province. Unlike other provinces, which still run and fund separate Catholic school boards, Quebec seems to be moving closer to true separation of church and state.

However, not everyone is happy. Quebec has strict language laws to protect the French language and the by-law officers that enforce those laws are often referred to as the “language police.” On some message boards today, people are already starting to talk about the possibility of “religion police.”

—–

Annie blogs about the art and science of parenting at the PhD in Parenting blog.

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67 comments

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4:17AM PDT on Jun 26, 2011

I think religion is a home/church project. But it should;t disallow a prayer offered at some times.

10:51PM PST on Feb 15, 2011

"Carolyn F.

Quebec does not have Catholic and Protestant school boards anymore. It has French and English school boards. Other provinces still do, but Quebec does not."

As far as I know this is not quite true :

1) Newfoundland also no longer has religious schoolboards.

2) Ontario has Catholic schoolboards (French and English), but the Protestant schoolboards have disappeared and are "neutral" or some other such name.

10:49PM PST on Feb 15, 2011

" This program, which was initially introduced in 1998, saw significant results in its first 10 years. It helped to:
Reduce child poverty"

This is false, it was proven that it is the middle class that benefits more.

"Increase school scores"

Not true, in any case school scores have dropped in Quebec in the last 10 years (see PISA, PIRLS).

"Increase the birth rate"

Coincidental (they increase to about the same level when a universal birth benefit was provided, that program cost about 10 times less, it was cut for ideological reasons : we don't want women at home). Now the birthrate is flat for the second year in a year and the cost have exploded (the day care personnel even in small units is now uniionized and have been given a raise!).

"Increase maternal workforce participation and postsecondary enrollment of women"

True, but was already a trend.

A ruinious program, unfair (to the poor and those who raise themselves they children as I do) and non universal.

And this is supposed to be a success !

10:44PM PST on Feb 15, 2011

«Stephen Young says
Dec 19, 2010 1:16 PM
religion has no place in schools or daycare»

1) This is an axiom or a dogma. No element of proof being supplied. I hope your don't pretend to teach that dogma in schools ;-)

2) The Ethics and Religious Culture course actually teaches a certain dogma and religion, just an agnostic one, a very politically correct one. But do not doubt that they are behaviours and beliefs which are taught as good without any explanation or criticism allowed (homosexuality is good, period).

10:41PM PST on Feb 15, 2011

"Instead, the new Ethics and Religious Culture program teaches children about human rights, about different religious traditions and beliefs, and about ethics and values"

1) You simply recite the official party line.

3) The actual factual content (as was proven in serveral court cases) of the Ethics and Religion Culture course is actually virtually nil.

4) What is "important" is the endoctrination to politically correct values : "openness", "acceptance" of all religion as equally legitimate (or illegitimate), no "homophobia" (in fact not even saying heterosexuality is more natural or normal than homosexuality is allowed read prof Farrow's (Mc Gill) piece on that), etc.

4) In practice it is often very very mediocre.

For those you read French :

Videos from pupills (last year of high school) on the subject :

http://pouruneecolelibre.blogspot.com/2011/02/projets-ecr-sur-les-et-travestis.html

http://pouruneecolelibre.blogspot.com/2009/07/apres-ma-religion-religion-de-reve.html

(in one of the videos students have to invent a new religion, they choose Chuck Norris)

Manuals :

http://pouruneecolelibre.blogspot.com/search/label/manuel

http://pouruneecolelibre.blogspot.com/search/label/manuels

They are cases where teaches make children of practising Christians cry :

http://pouruneecolelibre.blogspot.com/2010/09/ecr-marie-sest-fait-violer-elle-invente.html

(Mary was raped, and she invented the Holy spirit story, etc. etc.)

Oh, did I tell y

6:52PM PST on Dec 20, 2010

Carolyn F.

Quebec does not have Catholic and Protestant school boards anymore. It has French and English school boards. Other provinces still do, but Quebec does not.

1:35PM PST on Dec 20, 2010

i honestly think the lack of religion in schools have taken a negative toll on our education system. i'm not stating that a school should force religion on any kid, young adult or adult, but i think some one should put together a factual study of the before and after. i'm sure there has been a drastic change on several areas of a childs up bringing. self confidence, identity, e.c.t...

12:58AM PST on Dec 20, 2010

glad to hear that :) it is good idea to pass unbiased information, especially regarding religions, and let the children to decide what they want to believe in and support

7:51PM PST on Dec 19, 2010

A good step forward, this country is built on multiculturalism. I think it is great to learn about other cultures/religions it helps to teach tolerance, however practice should remain at home or a church/temple etc.

7:32PM PST on Dec 19, 2010

Oh! I forgot to add: we're not buckling under the foreigners pressure, quite contrary! It's mostly foreigners that started these religious daycares, and they are the most displeased by this measure...

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