Waiting until Grade 6 to teach Alberta children about Hinduism in the new draft elementary school curriculum is unacceptable, says Hindu Culture Society of Central Alberta.
Board member Dharmesh Goradia said the society and other Hindu representatives are scheduled to meet with Alberta Education officials on June 22 to discuss the serious omission.
He said Judaism, Christianity and Islam are included in the Grade 2 curriculum, and so should Hinduism.
“Hinduism has the third largest number of followers in the world. In Alberta, there are more than 150,000 who follow this faith,” Goradia said.
In the Red Deer area there are an estimated 250 Hindu families.
Goradia said it’s also important to teach them about Indian culture and contributions such as yoga, Ayurveda, astronomy, and more.
A letter from the society to Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said: “This draft curriculum also ignores how Hinduism has influenced and helped to shape the current world. Ignoring Hinduism which has a recorded history of at least 7,000 years is a matter of big concern for Grade 2 curriculum especially in the context of things such as the origin of democracy.”
Many Albertans have spoken out against the controversial curriculum.
Within a month of curriculum’s release in the spring, the majority of school boards across the province had opted not to pilot the new curriculum. In central Alberta, Red Deer Public Schools, Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools, Wolf Creek Public Schools, Wild Rose School Division, and Chinook’s Edge all opted out.
Press secretary Nicole Sparrow with Alberta Education said the new draft curriculum is the first curriculum in Alberta to include detailed information about the Hindu religion.
“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,” said Sparrow said in a statement.
She said Alberta Education has met with multiple representatives from Hindu associations, and is planning to meet with the Hindu Culture Society of Central Alberta to hear their feedback.
“The draft curriculum is just that, a draft. All Albertans, including members of the Hindu community, are encouraged to provide feedback on the draft K-6 curriculum. This feedback will help refine the draft curriculum before it is implemented across the province in fall 2022.”