The Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) expresses great disappointment with the government’s decision to revert to the outdated Health and Physical Education curriculum.
Prior to the introduction of the revised curriculum in 2015, the most recent update took place in 1998. This was a time before smartphones, social media, and progress in the understanding of different sexual orientations and gender identities. In this respect, the 2015 curriculum made major and necessary updates to respond to developments in law, technology, and society. Also, in developing the curriculum, the Ministry of Education consulted with thousands of parents and educators, as well as a broad cross-section of experts and stakeholder organizations.
“A modern and comprehensive Health and Physical Education curriculum is key to promoting healthy living,” says Liz Stuart, President of OECTA. “The role of the publicly funded education system should be to foster awareness and respect. To this end, it is important for teachers to have relevant, up-to-date information and resources. By going backward, we are doing students a disservice, leaving them without the tools and knowledge to manage their relationships and personal well-being.”
Catholic teachers have been teaching family life education through the Fully Alive program for more than 30 years. When the Health and Physical Education curriculum was developed, the Institute for Catholic Education provided input to the government, and worked with all Catholic partners to update Fully Alive and present the new curriculum expectations through the lens of our Catholic faith. As the government embarks on a new round of consultations, Catholic teachers will continue to advocate for a curriculum that properly equips students to face the realities of modern society.