Study says teaching of Black history is not consistent across Canada

Yves-Gérard Méhou-Loko

Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCUNESCO) report titled “Black Canadians and Public Education: A scan of elementary and secondary social studies curricula”, summarizes findings from a review of how Black Canadians are represented in Canadian public school curricula. The study identified gaps and revealed opportunities for education ministries, school boards and school districts to develop a more fulsome and reflective curriculum that will positively benefit all students. The study was conducted by Turner Consulting Group.

Research, undertaken by Turner Consulting Group for this report, found that there is an inconsistent approach to Black representation and to how Black History is taught in the classrooms. As each province and territory oversee their own individual educational curricula, there is no shared mandate or expectation for teaching Black Canadian history. Most importantly, each province or territory did not use the opportunity the opportunity to explore the local Black Canadians of significance and the important contributions they have made to their local communities and the country.

“When we took a look at curricular documents across Canada, we found that the rich history of Black people in Canada is not explored. Where Black people are included in the curriculum, individuals are peppered throughout without any understanding of the larger history of Black people in this country and their contributions to building and shaping

Tana Turner

Canada. This paints an incomplete picture of Canadian history,” said Tana Turner, President & CEO, Turner Consulting Group.

“One theme identified by this research is that there is a focus on Black experiences from the United States, including the plight of slavery and the fight by African Americans for civil rights.

The documents that were scanned for this report rarely acknowledged the experiences of Black people in Canada. The concern is that this will leave many Canadian students and teachers to be uninformed about the experiences and contributions of Black Canadians who have shaped our collective history.”

“CCUNESCO is proud to contribute to the ongoing conversation of promoting inclusion and equity in Canada’s education systems,” said Yves-Gérard Méhou-Loko, Secretary General, Canadian Commission for UNESCO.  “We hope that this report will be received as a positive addition to existing research and conversation into the inclusion of Black History in Canadian classrooms with the goal of improving diversity and equity in all facets of education.”