The YK1 school board has given its stamp of approval to the territorial government’s incoming curriculum change.
In December, the Department of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE) announced it would switch from using Alberta’s curriculum to the one used by B.C. At a regular YK1 board meeting on March 8, the board passed a motion endorsing this curriculum change.
The department had been studying Western Canadian curricula since 2019 to find an ideal fit for the NWT. In a statement from Dec. 2021, the Department of ECE laid out its reasons for the change: B.C.’s curriculum, the department said, is one of the first in the country to focus on competence-based learning rather than traditional schooling. Subjects include financial literacy and elementary school career education, and Indigenous worldviews are given a prominent place. This new curriculum will be phased in over the course of several years.
Board member Tina Drew acknowledged that parents had some reservations about a lack of testing compared to Alberta’s curriculum, which they feared would cause students to fall behind academically. However, the Conference Board of Canada ranked B.C.’s education system as one of the best in the country, on par with both Alberta and Ontario.
“I’ve heard parents comment to me, saying that, ‘Okay, yes, I agree, we should teach Indigenous history, but not at the expense of academics,” said Drew. “And I think we have to show that it is not at the expense of academics.”