Multiculturalism In Canada

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Is multiculturalism a disruptive or an integrative force in Canadian society?

In terms of education, multiculturalism is becoming increasingly disruptive in Canadian society. It seems that there is a new issue in the media focus regarding education on a weekly basis. It's becoming increasingly apparent that most, if not all issues in recent years stem from the debate of whether to centralize or decentralize our current system of education. Proponents of centralization argue that a standard national system of education will provide all people with access to the same quality of education. On the other hand, proponent’s of decentralization claim that individual educational institutions will provide a level of education that is sensitive to the differing cultures and economic status within a particular area. Both sides contend that their system will provide a higher standard of education while improving the educational opportunities for minorities.

Due to the recent investigation by the UN into Ontario's education system, it is appropriate to define what Canadians are entitled to as far as educational rights. The UN proclaims universally that, "Everyone has the right to education" and that "education shall be free," [UN, 1948,Article 26 (1)]. These definitions are very broad and far-reaching, and are rarely adhered to as fundamental human rights. "Many governments are inclined to define human rights in the manner most convenient to suiting their own political interests." (Boutros Butros Ghali, 1993). Essentially, there is no benchmark that compels any government education system to provide for a multicultural society. It should be interesting to see what the UN will say about the Canadian education system and whether or not they will set standard in education for a multicultural society such as ours. With no hard and fast guidelines how should the education system in Canada operate in order to become an integrative force in Canada.

The most prevailing school of though in Canada regarding education is its standardization and centralization. The provincial Government is responsible for developing and implementing of public education policy as long as they are in power. The Harris government has implemented and proposed many ideas for the centralization and standardization of education in the province of Ontario. These policies ar...

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...ach the same thing, students will be afforded the same opportunities. But how does the government decide what is best for each individual? Does majority rule apply in the education system as well? On the other hand the de-centralization of the school system provides for more community oriented schools that strive for improvement through competition. The idea of a problem free multicultural society can not be realized if we draw lines in the sand. We must act for the development of the nation, and the maintenance for the culture. Both views essentially try to answer two important questions asked by Canadians at once. First, how do you reduce the level of bureaucracy and reduce wasted tax dollars. Secondly, they attempt to answer the looming question of equality and the creation of a multicultural society in Canada today.

Sources Of Information

Ryan, Francis J. "The Perils of Multiculturalism: Schooling for the Group" Educational Horizons 7 Spring 1993:134-8

Chappell, Kevin "Ready, Aim, Fire." Black Enterprise March 1996.

Lawton, Stephen . "Busting Bureaucracy to Reclaim Our Schools" Montreal. The Institute for Research on Public Policy, 1995.
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