The Great Canadian Curriculum Debate

We are bringing together the academic leaders from all of our CAIS schools, and organizing something called The Great Canadian Curriculum Debate on Tuesday April 11 at 8:30am in Montreal.  This is the final morning of our National Leaders Conference.

Our panel will explore what is best for Canada, our schools and our students.

In Canada, a provincial curriculum is required in all schools, including independent schools, whether they receive provincial funding or not.  We also have schools choosing other curriculums in addition to the provincial requirements – IB, AP, Reggio Emilia, and Montessori. When it comes to university admissions, we see that universities accept the IB diploma from high schools all over the world, except from Canadian high schools.

Should we consider truly independent independent schools, from a curriculum perspective? What do other countries do? Which is ideal?  If one of the provinces has the “best” curriculum, could we do more to share nationally?  Our vision for CAIS is shaping the future of education, and more and more I am hearing that we cannot do this while we are bound by provincial requirements.  Can there be a new national vision?  Of interest in terms of university admissions, would universities accept students who didn’t have the provincial diploma, for example?  I asked an education lawyer, and he said he does not think anyone is bound by law to only accept provincial diplomas, so what would it look like if independent schools offered their own diplomas? Or could CAIS offer a diploma?

The role of curriculum is also changing. Enormous time and resources are focused on developing curriculum and ensuring its effectiveness. But we know that the teacher is the key. Meanwhile personalization and technology are upending schools. So as we shift toward a more personalized model of education in our technology driven world, what is the value of curriculum? How will a set curriculum contribute to developing well-rounded people, who want to pursue their individual passions and make a difference in the world? And when you have the confidence to allow your teachers and students to thrive in this innovative environment, how will assessment and university admissions change?

We believe that Canada needs more innovation and leadership from our K-12 schools, and we are excited to invite leaders to the table to help shape the path forward for our schools and our students.

To join our CAIS National Leaders Conference, you must be in an academic leadership position.  To register, click here.

p.s. One of my CAIS Board Members, Michaele Robertson, suggested we have a look at this http://www.nzcer.org.nz/sites/all/libraries/games/.  It is New Zealand’s way of puzzling through the same question.

 

5 thoughts on “The Great Canadian Curriculum Debate

  1. Hello Anne Marie,
    I must point out a concern I read in your most recent blog post.
    https://annemariekee.wordpress.com/
    “In Canada, a provincial curriculum is required in all schools, including independent schools, whether they receive provincial funding or not. We also have schools choosing other curriculums in addition to the provincial requirements – IB, AP, Reggio Emilia, and Montessori. When it comes to university admissions, we see that universities accept the IB diploma from high schools all over the world, except from Canadian high schools.”

    I have been the University Liaison Representative for the IB Schools of Ontario for several years now. IBSO is a recognized regional organization of the IBO and represents over 100 Ontario high schools (public and independent) that offer the IB diploma Program. I also sit as the CIS- Ontario representative with the Ontario University Council of Admissions.

    As you know, the vast majority of Canadian high school students who complete the IB Diploma program also graduate with their provincial secondary school diploma credentials. (A notable exception- United World College – Pearson College)

    University Admissions offices across Canada have both IB recognition policies, as well as provincial recognition policies. Universities admit student based on one diploma or the other. It is not accurate to report that universities do not accept the IB credentials from Canadian high school students. A more accurate statement would read:

    When it comes to university admissions, we see that universities consider both the IB diploma or the provincial diploma when admitting Canadian high school students. Furthermore, the IB diploma is often used to place students in advanced standing.

    Thank you for your understanding, and again, I would be happy to chat.
    I hope to see you soon.

  2. There are some exciting possibilities here. Many leading CAIS schools feel constrained by provincial curricula. But they are also very worried about affordability. The challenge for schools in some provinces is that breaking free of provincial curricula might also mean losing provincial funding which is a big deal for offsetting the concerns around affordability. This will be a fascinating debate!

    • Another important aspect of this national conversation. In terms of finances, I also wonder if we could show the governments that they could save money on inspecting our schools by letting CAIS do this for them? Thanks for sharing and see you in April (as well as tomorrow when we meet to work on the CAIS Strategic Plan!)

  3. Great to hear and thanks for commenting. We want to hear from you and I hope you will join us in April. We will have someone from IB and a University President to also speak to this. But we need all passionate leaders in the room to figure out our future together.

  4. ” When it comes to university admissions, we see that universities accept the IB diploma from high schools all over the world, except from Canadian high schools.”

    Not entirely accurate. I would be pleased to dialog further about this.

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