In Canada, we pride ourselves on having two national languages, on accepting interracial relationships, both romantic and friendly, and especially, on having citizens from hundreds of different countries. We are a multicultural society, yet our school system is yet to reflect our pride in multiculturalism. To receive an Ontario Secondary School Diploma, students are required to take only one course in geography, only one course in history, only one secondary language course, and only one social studies course.
On the other end of the spectrum, students must take three math courses, two science courses, and it is mandatory for students to continue to pursue credits in English throughout their entire high school career! The result is that very few students leave high school with a broad knowledge of European history or languages, and the majority of students probably could not even pick out Japan on a map!
As a multicultural country, we should promote cultural education, either through language, history, geography, or arts courses. If Ontario made it mandatory for students to take one credit per year in the interest of expanding their cultural knowledge, students could choose from a variety of courses.
Student A could choose to take four language courses, either bettering their French over four years or learning a small amount of Italian in one. This student could receive a bilingual certificate after high school to help them with their future career, or he or she could take off on a trip to Italy, and be able to converse with the locals, even if it is just at a minute scale.
Student B could take courses in European art, and architecture. He or she could learn about Van Gogh and Monet, and the exquisite works of art that they have contributed. This student could also study the construction of the Eiffel tower, or L’arc de Triomphe, motivating them to travel to Paris to personally see these architectural beauties. These courses could inspire some of the world’s great artists to come, or could at least expand the culture in a high school student’s life.
Student C could take a variety of history, geography, religion, and language courses, all focusing mainly on a country of their choice. He or she could study the lively world of Hong Kong and end up choosing a career in international business.
It seems that in order to continue developing pride in our country for being a tightly knit community of cultures, we need to make sure that each generation to follow does not lose sight of their culture’s languages, traditions, and holidays. We should all celebrate our backgrounds and take the time in school to be educated culturally so that when we leave secondary school we are not stuck with stereotypical views of certain cultures, but rather full, in depth knowledge of our brother and sister countries. Studying more cultural courses in high school would heighten our educational experience, as well as provide us with newfound knowledge and respect for our cultural society.