Close to 30 Hindu societies across the province, including many in southern Alberta want their religion included in Alberta’s proposed new Kindergarten to Grade 6 (K-6) curriculum at an earlier stage. The Alberta government says the draft K-6 curriculum is the first curriculum in Alberta to include direct detailed knowledge about the Hindu religion. However Hindu communities across Alberta are speaking up over its late inclusion. Christianity, Judaism and Islam are introduced in Grade 2 social studies, but Hinduism is not discussed until Grade 6. Vice President of the Gujarati Society of Lethbridge, Suketu Shah says the early grades are ideal times to teach children about Hinduism.
The office of the Education Minister responded to Bridge City News with the following statement regarding Hinduism’s inclusion into the draft curriculum:
“While the current draft has students exploring ancient civilizations in Grade 2, world religions are not a focus in this grade. This content will be taught in Grade 6, with students learning about major world religions such as Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Sikhism.”
– Nicole Sparrow, Education Minister Press Secretary
Business owner Upen Patel who represents Lethbridge’s Hindu community says after sending letters to MLAs and Premier Jason Kenney. In a response to one of the letters, Premier Kenney says of the current draft,
“This is the first curriculum in Alberta to include direct detailed knowledge about the Hindu religion. Neither the current curriculum, nor the NDP draft curriculum made one mention of Hinduism. The NDP draft, believe it or not, had not a single mention of any country except Canada.”
Patel says the letters they sent led them to make possible to have a meeting with the Deputy Education Minister and make progress.
The province is collecting feedback on the draft K-6 curriculum until Spring of 2022 which will help refine it before it is implemented across the province in the fall of next year.