B.C. announces mandatory Holocaust Education in K-12 curriculum will begin in 2025

B.C. Premier David Elby with leaders from the Jewish Community. (Facebook photo)

(Vancouver) – Flanked by members of British Columbia’s Jewish community, including Holocaust Survivors and their descendants, and representatives of the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre (VHEC), the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), and the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, B.C. Premier David Eby announced that, beginning in 2025, B.C. will mandate Holocaust education as part of B.C.’s K-12 curriculum.

“When left unchecked, antisemitism culminates in some of the darkest chapters in human history. By learning from the Holocaust, we honour the memories of its victims and, we hope, contribute to preventing future tragedies,” said Ezra Shanken, CEO, Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver. “Whether it’s distortion of Holocaust history or misinformation about Hamas’ terrorist attacks, both are rooted in antisemitism, and today’s announcement shows the B.C. government’s commitment to creating a safer society for all.”

The Ministry of Education and Childcare will soon begin consultations with B.C.’s Jewish community and other stakeholders to develop the Holocaust education curriculum, which will be rolled out for students in Grade 10 in the 2025-26 school year.

“The introduction of mandatory Holocaust education in B.C.’s K-12 curriculum builds on more than 30 years of work by VHEC, which is dedicated to supporting teaching and learning about the Holocaust and its relevance today,” says Nina Krieger, Executive Director, VHEC. “The Second World War ended 78 years ago and, each year, there are fewer Holocaust Survivors who can share their first-hand experiences and insights with students. At a time when antisemitism is once again spiking, Holocaust education is more important than ever. It is now up to us to honour Survivors’ legacies and share their lessons with future generations.”

This decision makes B.C. the second province in Canada to introduce mandatory Holocaust education. In September, Ontario’s Ministry of Education implemented a mandatory learning requirement of Holocaust education in their Grade 6 curriculum. The Ontario ministry also supported the development of Unlearn It, a free, bilingual online resource hub for educators and parents to support children in grades 6- 8 in learning about antisemitism, how to identify it, and take action to address it.

“Education is key to ensuring that our children learn to combat hate and that the Jewish community can live in a safer province,” said Nico Slobinsky, Vice President – Pacific Region, CIJA. “Our community has always stood with other racialized and ethnocultural groups, because we know that an attack on one compromises the safety of all. This announcement allows us to share the experiences of Survivors and, by doing so, learn how to create a safe British Columbia. We look forward to working with the B.C. government on implementing mandatory Holocaust education in our province’s K-12 curriculum.”

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