By Rumina Rizvi
A hot topic in the news these days, the suggested updates to Healthy and Physical Education Curriculum are giving many parents sleepless nights. It is the same set of ‘updates’ that had to be backrolled a few years ago after a public outcry against it. This time however its proponents are in no moods for arguments, consultations, announcing that the changes will be implemented in the academic year beginning in 2015.
Sister Sumera Wasiq, a community worker, organized a community forum at ISNA Canada premises recently, inviting speakers, guests and concerned parents to talk about the proposed changes to the curriculum.
The guests at the event included Sheikh Alaa Elsayed, Regional Minister Charles Sousa and Jason F. Policy Director.
Hina Mirza Zuberi, media and events coordinator ISNA, Canada welcomed the attendees and guests to the forum.
The congregation started with recitation of Qur’anic verses and their English translation. Sheikh Alaa Elsayed welcomed the parents and expressed his gratitude on a large turnout on the cold week night. He requested all parents to be patient and kind to the guests and write down their questions to be handed to the guests for the Q/A session to be conducted later.
The turnout was amazing, with more than 1500 people showing up to a standing room only.
In the questions and answers sessions and manifests in September, Charles Sousa from the Ministry of Finance said parents can exempt their children, he said:
‘The religious schools and home schoolings would be exempt. It would not be integrated into the other subjects, contrary to the 2010 curriculum which states Cross-Curriculum and Integrated Learning is actually just that, crossing subject matter into other classes, and even refers to Language, Social Studies and Science’.
The parents however were not satisfied with the replies and had ambiguities on what to be expected out of the curriculum after its release. Their major concern was for their children’s innocence and vulnerability and also protecting their rights, values and religious beliefs. They could not come to terms with finding the curriculum to be age appropriate with explicit materials being used for explanatory means.
Concerned parents were asked to write to their MP’s and MPP’s in opposing the curriculum and implementation in the coming fall of September onward in all public school in entire Ontario.
Another peaceful demonstration by the parents will take place next week (today, February 24, 2015) at Provincial Legislature Queens Park, Toronto at 11am. It is also expected to generate some heat and pressure on the Minister of Education and the Premier.
You can watch a video of the session here.
Parents opposing the curriculum can also sign up to the petition here.