Underlying the Quiet Revolution is fundamentally a perception--or rather an interpretation--of the preceding time period. Quebec, under the Duplessis, was characterised by isolation, conservatism and had abided by traditional ways and values. In consequence, the province had fallen behind, and had acquired increasingly negative characteristics. This perception of the Duplesis era being the “Great Darkness is broadly challenged by many today. However, there is no doubt that the death of Duplessis, and the subsequent election of the Liberal Party in 1960, triggered a period of intense social, political, and economic changes.
Under Duplesis, the Catholic Church had assumed the task of education in Quebec. The education system and the curriculum was outdated and “Religion played a role in every part of the curriculum” (page 191). Those who wanted to pursue a higher education found a system designed only for a few chosen souls. The incumbent Liberal government was determined to move education towards a more secular, and most importantly, a less self-serving, direction. Quebec’s Ministry of Education was established in 1964 and the government officially took control of the education system in 1867 as the Canadian Constitution of made education an area of provincial responsibility. Publicly funded schools made secondary and university education, previously available only in religious schools and to a small number of students, available to the entire population. The influence of the Roman Catholic Church had significantly declined as government had taken control of the educational system. Students were no longer encouraged to take Classical courses such as philosophy and art, but rather science and technology courses were encouraged in an attempt to modernize Quebec. The government's firm resolve to overhaul the archaic and religious education system made the young people of this period of time the first Québec beneficiaries of a modern education.
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