#BritishColumbiaSchools; #AntiRacism; #ERASEStratecy
British Columbia, Jul 24 (Canadian-Media): A new Community Roundtable on Anti-Racism to support the development of an anti-racism action plan in education has been created with an aim to strengthen the K–12 curriculum by ensuring the culture, beliefs and ancestry of all students and staff are accepted, celebrated and understood, media reports said.
AntiRacism. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
B.C.'s Premier John Horgan said in a news release that British Columbia (B.C)'s schools or should imbibe a "culture-based learning in the education system and build a better and more inclusive future for B.C.”
A wide range of groups have been brought together by the community leaders to better understand the impact of racism on B.C. students by Rob Fleming, Minister of Education to strengthen and develop new policies and programs to promote anti-racism.
The first meeting of the roundtable was held on Friday, July 24, 2020, and will continue to meet during the development of the action plan.
“Now is the time to listen, learn, engage and act,” Fleming said. “We are committed to working with community and education partners to build a meaningful and lasting anti-racism action plan to ensure schools are safe and welcoming places where diversity is celebrated.”
First Nations Leadership Council, the First Nations Education Steering Committee and Métis Nation BC had been asked by Fleming to help set up a distinct Indigenous table and co-develop its approach.
A new student advisory group will also be formed in the fall to hear directly from students on their experiences.
“We are pleased to be working with the Ministry of Education to address racism in our schools. We’ve been advocating for this for many years now...We believe strongly that education about people and other people’s culture really reduces racism and prejudice," said Silvia Mangue Alene, president, BC Black History Awareness Society in a news release.
The Community Roundtable on Anti-Racism in education is based on a series of community dialogues led by Ravi Kahlon, former parliamentary secretary for sport and multiculturalism, last summer and leads to the development of Resilience BC, a provincewide anti-racism network of 40 communities announced in November 2019.
"By including a mandatory course on First Peoples as part of B.C.’s K-12 graduation requirements...is a widely supported measure that will contribute to significant change in the province,” said Tyrone McNeil, president, First Nations Education Steering Committee.
The provincial ERASE (expect respect and a safe education) strategy designed to foster school connectedness, address bullying, prevent violence and provide support to school districts during critical incidents. ERASE’s online reporting tool has recently expanded to include a category for reporting incidents of racism and discrimination.
Image: ERASE. Image credit: Twitter handle
B.C. government, in 2019 provided a sum of $3.1 million for Indigenous teacher training programs to ensure B.C. has more teachers trained to bring Indigenous perspectives into classrooms.