TDSB to Province: Make Genocide Education ‘Compulsory Learning’

Trustees of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) have approved a motion calling on the Ministry of Education to make genocide education “compulsory learning.”

The June 17 announcement said board chair Robin Pilkey will make the following requests to the ministry:

• That the current grade 11 course “Genocide: Historical and Contemporary Implications” be accredited as part of the Ontario curriculum as a “university” or “mixed” course.

• That examples of genocide form “a comprehensive study” as part of the mandatory “Canadian History Since World War I” Grade 10 course;

• That the province convene a working group of experts to look critically at the Ontario curriculum to ensure that students graduate with a better understanding of human rights, and how to protect those rights and take effective action if they or others experience hate, racism or others forms of discrimination and violence.

The motion, which passed unanimously, is also supported by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, Project Abraham, National Holodomor Education Committee, Liberation75 and the Armenian National Committee.

“Now more than ever, we, as part of the public education system,  have the responsibility to educate against hate,” said Pilkey in a statement. “Our calls to action to the Ministry of Education will help ensure that students have the necessary knowledge of past atrocities so that they can actively fight against hatred of all forms, now and into the future.”

Genocide education is critical in fighting against intolerance, said TDSB director John Malloy. The board looks forward to working with the Ministry of Education “to ensure that genocide education is compulsory learning for students across the province.”

The motion was lauded by Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre, which said genocide education is “critical for students to help them appreciate and advocate for human rights.”