By Catherine Solyom | Published November 29, 2013 by The Montreal Gazette
As the school boards became secular in 1998 — under Marois’s leadership as education minister — and with immigration on the rise, there was a concerted effort to open the doors of the schools to students and teachers of different ethnic and religious backgrounds.
A School for the Future: Policy Statement on Educational Integration and Intercultural Education, signed by Marois in 1998, promotes ZERO EXCLUSION (their emphasis) and the recognition that diversity in terms of family background, religious or cultural identity is “itself one of our shared values.”
It also highlights the need for — and the challenge of — increasing diversity in the teaching profession:
“The credibility of pretensions to openness and ethno-cultural and religious diversity relies heavily on the visibility of this diversity within the school staff,” the policy statement reads. “But, in many school boards and most educational institutions, the staff remains ethno-culturally homogeneous … it seems appropriate to ask school boards and colleges to make sure that their hiring system includes no rules or practices that could have a discriminatory effect. …”
Fast-forward to 2013 and another PQ government — with Marois as premier — is leading the charge to ban religious headgear and other accessories, this time for teachers.
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