Edition 230 - June 2020

UK: Universities not decolonising their curriculum

In light of recent developments around the Black Lives Matter movement, higher education institutions (HEIs) around the world are being asked to review their practices regarding racial issues and especially colonialism at various levels. These include administrative practices, hiring practices and a review of curricula, usually in humanities and social sciences.

It is a re-occurring and slow process which recently gained momentum again, especially in a multi-ethnic country such as the United Kingdom. The Guardian's investigation found that only a fifth of UK universities have committed to reforming their curriculum to confront the legacy of colonialism.

The Guardian issued a survey through a freedom of information request, which was submitted by 128 universities. Only 24 declared they were committed to decolonising the curriculum and only 11 are reforming across the whole institution rather than in few departments involving a limited number of academics and students. 34 universities „are consulting BAME students on curriculum design”.

There seems to have been little progress in the last five years since the Rhodes Must Fall campaign to remove the statue of the Victorian imperialist Cecil Rhodes at the Oxford University. A number of academics, BAME representatives and students are disappointed by these figures and general lack of willingness to tackle colonialism through a lens of white supremacy. They ask to embed the anti-colonial perspective to the institutional structure, rather than simply responding to individual demands to decolonise the curriculum.

The numbers seem to be more promising on a general inclusion side where 84 respondents said „they are committed to making their curricula more diverse, international or inclusive”.

More information here.

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