Paul Gérin-Lajoie, Quebec's first modern education minister, honored with state funeral

A state funeral was held Thursday morning in Montreal for pioneering Quebec education minister Paul Gérin-Lajoie.

Quebecers of all political stripes attended, from the prime minister, the premier, and the leaders of the CAQ, the PQ, and Quebec Solidaire.

A lawyer by trade, specializing in constitutional law, Gérin-Lajoie became the first education minister in modern Quebec history in 1964, under the premiership of Jean Lesage. A ministry for public instruction had existed from the time of Confederation in 1867, but was abolished in 1875,

During his two years in that post, Gérin-Lajoie called for a wide-ranging survey of education in Quebec, which led to reforms such as the CEGEP system, and cumpulsory school until the age of 16.

He was also responsible for having the state, rather than the Catholic church, set curriculum priorities.

He died June 25th at the age of 98.