February 28 – EDUCATIONAL REVOLUTION IN CANADA
EDUCATIONAL REVOLUTION IN CANADA
Two laws were passed in Canada two years apart: on 28 February 1961 and on 28 February 1963. One of them set up a committee of inquiry into education, and the second modified it. The committee’s report was published in April 1965 and was called the Parent Report, after the name of Mgr Parent, rector of Universite Laval. It was a charter for a new age in Canadian education, which was democratised and, as a result,the pupil numbers doubled; instead of being taught by one teacher, the subjects were taught by specialised teachers going from one class to another; the geographical position of the schools was changed. Quebec Province was divided into 55 regions,
This upheaval affected all teachers and therefore our Brothers, who had to change their habits radically. They started working less and less in “their” schools but collaborated in larger schools with other men and women religious and especially with large numbers of lay people. Thus, in the north of Montreal, the very old school Sainte- Rose, which had been run by the Brothers since 1894 and had been extended in 1958 to become Villernarie School, saw its school board merge with those of other schools to become the regional corporation (association) of Mille Isles. The corporation built a school complex called Antoine-Labelle which catered for some 5000 students in 1967 and numbered more than 300 teaching staff, including 11 Brothers of Saint Gabriel. Up and down the Quebec Province the Brothers felt dispossessed and scattered and some of them found the new situation hard to cope with. · _
The new structures, combined with the fall in the number of Brothers (some left, others died, vocations became scarce), gave rise to an unprecedented situation. From 1961, when they withdrew from Saint-Martin-de-Laval, to 1983, when they withdrew from Saint-Jacques-de-Montcalm, 35 schools ceased to be managed by the Brothers. At the same time the juniorates gradually became selective schools, apostolic schools or ordinary boarding schools.