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Canadian Royal Commission on Education Gets Jewish Proposals

The Royal Commission of Inquiry into Education in Quebec has received a series of proposals from the Canadian Jewish Congress covering proposed changes affecting the education of Jewish children in the province.

One of the proposals was a request that Jewish day schools be recognized for grants on the pre-school and elementary level and that recommendations of the Royal Commission on recognition of private schools should be extended to provide for such support for schools which comply with the proposed regulations for all schools in the province.

Another welcomed the proposal that the public education system in Quebec respect differences in the religious options of parents and pupils by offering a choice of Catholic, Protestant and non-confessional education, to the degree that proposed standards for quality in education can be satisfied in each choice.

The Congress proposed that exemption from religious instruction and exercises in confessional schools should be automatic, without requiring written requests from parents, as is now required. Quebec schools are operated under direction of Christian-controlled boards.

WANT BIBLICAL LITERATURE TAUGHT IN SCHOOLS NOT AS DOGMA

The Congress brief also asked that Biblical literature in such schools be taught not as religious dogma, and that there be provision for legal absence on religious holidays for children and teachers.

The Congress supported a recommendation that confessional elementary schools which accept pupils not belonging to the faith with which the schools are associated, offer such pupils appropriate religious or moral instruction and that, on the secondary level, such schools take advantage of the variety of elective courses to offer such pupils religious or moral instruction with tutors chosen for that purpose.

The Congress also said it supported the recommendation that the present system of confessional commissions be replaced by a threefold administrative structure comprising school committees, regional commissions and a Council of School Development. The Congress asked that, before a unified administrative structure for the schools was implemented, interim measures should be taken to do away with the legal disabilities of Jewish parents and taxpayers.

The Congress endorsed recommendations of the Royal Commission that the school system in Quebec provide a choice between French and English language instruction on all three levels — Catholic, Protestant and non-confessional — of the proposed revised school structure. The Congress also urged a reexamination of the whole system of language teaching, to assure that every graduate of every school be bilingual.

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