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Holodomor learning to become mandatory

By Randy Thoms Nov 28, 2023 | 3:59 PM

Stephen Lecce, Ontario's Education Minister, announces plans to make learning of the Holodomor mandatory in Grade 10 history, November 28, 2023. Gov't of Ontario/YouTube screen grab

A significant moment in Ukraine’s history will soon be a part of the high school curriculum.

Beginning next September, grade 10 students will learn about the Holodomor in history.

It was a man-made famine in the 1930s caused by Soviet Union policies that led to the death of as many as 7 million in Ukraine.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce says the Holodomor (ho-low-DOOR-more) famine and its impact on Ukraine will be part of Grade 10 history.

“We will educate young people on the perils of communism and the extreme ideology that has plagued so many people then and still today. And we will educate young people about the civic duty as Canadians…of disinformation and misinformation, the propaganda that was advanced then and now by the evil empire. This is learning that will safeguard our democracy. It will ensure we remain a free society,” says Stephen Lecce, Ontario’s Education Minister.

The province is also providing the Canada-Ukraine Foundation with $400,000 for its Holodomor National Awareness Tour and mobile classroom.

It is a 40-foot mobile recreational vehicle that includes interactive hands-on lessons to engage students and assist in teaching about the Holodomor.

The bus has made several visits to schools and communities in northwestern Ontario since 2017.

“This bus is providing knowledge and education for thousands of kids,” says Lecce. “And our government is proud to announce a $400,000 investment to continue to ensure that bus gets into the most remote parts of Ontario, so that all kids, particularly non-Ukrainian kids, learn about the Holodomor in an interactive way, in an age-appropriate way that instills values, that unite us, that strengthens our democratic norms, that helps young people understand that they too, on an individual basis, every young kid could play a role against evil, against bullying, and against division and hate.”

Since 2014, the bus has travelled coast-to-coast and visited by thousands of students and others.

Chair of the Canada-Ukrainian Foundation Victor Hetmanczuk says the province’s support continues their efforts to raise awareness.

“Today’s announcement ensures that students will learn about the concealed unknown chapter in Ukrainian history and that they will continue to embrace and value democracy, freedom, human rights, and the rule of law, that Canada holds in the highest regard,” says Hetmanczuk.

Canada officially recognized Holodomor as a genocide of the Ukrainian people in 2008, with the Ontario government issuing a similar declaration a year later while identifying the fourth Saturday in November as Holodomor Memorial Day.