Diversity in BC Schools

Date came into force or revised

May 2001 in effect;  March 2004 revised

Status

Current

Policy statement

The school system should strive to ensure that differences among learners do no impede their participation in schools, their mastery of learning outcomes, or their ability to become contributing members of society.

Rationale or purpose of policy

The school system is expected to promote values expressed in legislation. Boards of education and schools are expected to develop and implement policies and practices that honour diversity and respect the rights of all individuals, in accordance with the law.

Authority

See School Act (PDF) - Preamble, Sections 2, 6(1), 75(1), 76 (2)(3), 85 (1)(2), 169 (3).

See Statement of Education Policy Order (PDF) (OIC 1280/89) Mandate for the school system.

Also see:

  • The Constitution Act (1982)
    (a) The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
    (b) The Rights of Aboriginal Peoples
  • The Multiculturalism Act (RSBC 1996) 
  • The Human Rights Code (RSBC 1996, c 210) 
  • The Employment Equity Act (1995)
  • The Official Languages Act (1985)

Policy in full

Diversity among people is one of the prominent features of British Columbia's society and our schools. Honouring diversity is based on the principle that if differences are acknowledged and utilized in a positive way, it is of benefit to the quality of our learning and working environments.

The school system is expected to create and maintain conditions that foster success for all students and promote fair and equitable treatment for all. Boards of school trustees, school district officials and other school leaders have a unique responsibility and duty to address increasing diversity in both the educational and operational aspects of schooling.

Addressing diversity encompasses the following:

  • taking into account the different beliefs, customs, practices, languages, behaviours and physical differences of individuals and cultural groups
  • encouraging understanding, acceptance, mutual respect and inclusion, in order to make school communities and society as a whole more equitable for all people.

The conditions that foster success for all students include the following:

  • equitable access to and equitable participation in quality education for all students
  • school cultures that value diversity and respond to the diverse social and cultural needs of the communities they serve 
  • school cultures that promote understanding of others and respect for all 
  • learning and working environments that are safe and welcoming, free from discrimination, harassment and violence 
  • decision-making processes that give a voice to all members of the school community 
  • policies and practices that promote fair and equitable treatment

Procedures related to policy

In order to carry out their responsibility to address increasing diversity, education leaders should examine board of education and school policies, procedures and practices.  This diversity should be addressed in both the educational and operational aspects of schools. The following steps can guide this examination:

  • Leaders should determine if diverse needs of students and employees are being addressed comprehensively
  • Areas that require improvement are identified
  • Plans are made for both school district and school-specific changes
  • Plans are then implemented
  • To be effective, policies, procedures and practices should be regularly reviewed and communicated

Useful Contacts

If you have any questions relating to the Diversity in BC Schools policy please contact the Ministry at:

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