Schools failing to teach Canadian history

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Canadian students are finishing high school without a basic understanding of their country's history, and schools are ignoring the subject in favour of a new fixation with math and science, the Dominion Institute says.

The private, Toronto-based advocacy group says provincial governments could help solve the problem by making Canadian history a mandatory requirement of high school graduation.

The institute's annual Remembrance Day poll -- a national survey conducted last month of more than 1,000 Canadians -- suggests the public would go even further. Eighty per cent of those surveyed said high schools should impose compulsory courses in 20th-century Canadian history, including a study of the First and Second World Wars.

Currently only three provinces require high school students to study some Canadian history.

"Incredible as it seems, there are provinces where you can go through school and not be required to take a single course in Canadian history," says Rudyard Griffiths, executive director of the institute.

"I think it's having a pernicious effect on Canadians' knowledge of history. For one thing, we have high school graduates not being able to associate D-Day with the invasion of Normandy. That begs the question, are we living up to our solemn pledge not to forget our veterans?"

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