Regina student calling for more black history curriculum in schools
Published Wednesday, June 10, 2020 6:32PM CST Last Updated Wednesday, June 10, 2020 7:04PM CST
REGINA -- A Regina student is using a petition to call for more teachings of black history in Saskatchewan schools.
Tobi Omeyefa stood on the steps of the Legislative Building during Sunday afternoon’s Black Lives Matter rally advocating for change in the Saskatchewan curriculum.
“Saskatchewan is lacking in educating our students about black history and things that have gone on in the past and how to make changes to prevent that from happening again,” said Omeyefa.
He believes education is the starting point in the fight against injustice. That's why he started a petition calling on the Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA) to advocate for changes in the curriculum.
“Education is the only way to be knowledgeable about the things that are going on right now,” said Omeyefa. “For my petition, a lot of people have commented saying they've learned more about racism and injustice in Canada towards black people in the past couple days than they have their whole life.”
Minister of Education Gordon Wyant addressed the issue of racism and social issues in a press conference on Tuesday.
“Our curriculum does address the issue of racism,” said Wyant. “The province was the first province in the country to introduce treaty education in the classroom.”
“As recently as yesterday, I had a conversation with the Chief Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission to talk about what help he can provide us in ensuring that our curriculum is responsive to the current situation.”
Shawn Davidson President of the SSBA said their organization has supported similar changes of the curriculum in the past.
“While the provincial government has authority over curriculum in Saskatchewan school boards have advocated for and continue to support efforts to increase important education on anti-racism, including the teaching of Black history,” said Davidson.
Minister Wyant also said that he is aware of the petition and is not ruling out any changes moving forward.
“[I am] having conversations with my ministry staff to ensure that what we do is increase our curriculum development around this very important matter,” said Wyant.
But Omeyefa says he is looking for a more immediate solution.
“I want to know what actions you've taken to address these problems we have right now,” said Omeyefa. “I don't want you to give me the nullified version. I want you to tell me the steps you're willing to take to make the change happen.”