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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Hindus fight for equal treatment of Hindu Dharma in elementary school curriculum: Canada

A Hindu organisation in the Canadian province of Alberta is speaking out against the discriminatory treatment of Hindu Dharma in a new draft elementary school curriculum created by government education authorities.

As per a report in a local news outlet –

“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.

Dharmesh Goradia, and his daughter Vidhi and wife Chaitali, at the 2017 festival for the Godess Durga, held at the Golden Circle. Goradia, a board member with the Hindu Culture Society of Central Alberta, says Hinduism is not included in the Grade 2 draft curriculum. (Photo: www.reddeeradvocate.com)

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.”

….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.

…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 implemented across the province in fall 2022.”

Other critics have said the curriculum ‘pushes Eurocentric history while giving short shrift to francophone and Indigenous cultures and perspectives’.

Hindus across North America are struggling with the issue of getting correct and equitable coverage for their Dharma in school curriculums. The most well-known of these was the California textbook controversy where Hindu advocacy groups managed to get some major changes made over a decade-long civic engagement with state authorities.

Recently, Hindu American parents in the town of Plano, Texas were trying to get the Plano ISD (Independent School District) to correct its textbooks that give racist, pro-colonial depictions of Hindu Dharma and the Hindu community.

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