No changes made to Sask. Black history curriculum yet, despite 73K signature petition
REGINA -- A petition that was launched about eight months ago calling for more Black history and anti-racism education in Saskatchewan schools has received almost 75,000 signatures, but changes have not been implemented yet.
Tobi Omoyefa, a fourth year business student at the University of Regina, created the petition in June 2020.
Initially, the petition called on the Saskatchewan School Boards Association to make the changes, but decisions on curriculum come from the Ministry of Education. Since it launched, Omoyefa said he’s been in constant conversation with the ministry.
“Every month or so we chat and talk about what the progression of the petition is. Right now we’re nearing more the end and hopefully in the next few months things can finally start to get rolling,” Omoyefa said.
He said he’s been told there’s a hierarchy of levels the petition has to go through in order for the changes to be made to the curriculum.
Omoyefa said he has been satisfied “to a certain extent” regarding how the process is going, but he was hopeful for action to be taken sooner.
“I did talk to them and realize that they do believe in what I’m doing and they do want to help me implement this change into the curriculum,” he said. “The one thing I’ve had to get accustomed to is that change doesn’t happen over night. It takes time. I was hoping it would happen right away.”
Omoyefa said he’s hoping the changes will come by the end of this year or for the next school year.
The Ministry of Education would not provide an interview to CTV News and did not address the petition specifically in an emailed statement.
“Saskatchewan curricula addresses race relations through a number of opportunities, including concepts related to African Canadian/Black History in Saskatchewan,” the statement said. “The Ministry of Education works with various organizations, such as the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission and Black in [Sask], to develop or renew curricula to ensure the perspectives of various cultures are represented.”
The petition is still open online and new signatures continue to come in daily.
“When I started the petition, I was just hoping for around 20,000 or so signatures, I didn’t expect it to blow up to over 73,000 signatures,” Omyefa said.
He said it’s been encouraging to see so many people agree with his initiative and to have them recognize that the lack of Black history and anti-racism education is a problem.
“It’s good to know I’m not the only one that feels this way,” he said. “I can’t wait for what’s yet to come.”