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In-depth Knowledge Section 5: Decolonisation


What is decolonising education NOT about? It is not about guilt. It is not about finger-pointing. It is not about wokeness. It is not about cancelling Eurocentric knowledge

  1. Historical context and epistemology
  2. Curriculum reform
  3. Decolonising pedagogical approaches
  4. Representation, diversity, and language
  5. Global engagement and solidarity
  6. Anti-racism

What do we mean by decolonising education?


  • It aligns with the YUFE values of diversity, inclusivity, and multilinguism
  • It is a necessary aspect of educational reform to keep courses and universities relevant in the 21st century
  • It reflects a recognition of the need for historical awareness
  • It supports one of the key missions of all universities - to train students to be critical thinkers
  • It supports our ambition to attract more diverse student and staff populations

Why are we talking about this?


(B) Curriculum reform

  • Making the curriculum inclusive
  • Critically reflect on what the curricula has consisted of until now
  • Revise the curricula to include indigenous knowledge systems, languages, and perspectives
  • Resist implementing ‘happy diversity’ decolonisation

(A) Historical context and epistemology

  • Colonial histories have shaped educational systems, epistemology, curricula, and pedagogies
  • Non-European forms of knowledge have been silenced meaning research themes, focuses, methodologies, frameworks, theories are predominantly Eurocentric

Defining ‘decolonising education’: elements A and B


Does the selection of authors match your own positionality as a teacher?

Is there consideration of the history of the discipline?

Which research perspectives are considered relevant (and for whom?)

What examples are used?

What’s next? Fill in the gaps and consider for example….

  • Which voices and perspectives are missing and why?
  • Have you tried to diversify knowledge systems and met with resistance?
  • How diverse are any guest lecturers?

Whose voices or knowledge systems are dominant in your course design?

(Some) questions to consider in relation to current course material


(D) Representation, diversity and language

  • Who is teacher and who is student and why?
  • Address the need for greater diversity among educators and educational leaders
  • Examine the role of language in decolonisation

(C) Decolonising pedagogical approaches

  • How do teachers and students relate to each other?
  • How does participation happen, or not happen
  • Is there an awareness among students and teachers of what their positionality (power, privilege, and identities), is?

Defining ‘decolonising education’: elements C and D


(F) Anti-racism

  • At the heart of decolonising education is being anti-racist
  • Colonisation was predicated on, and reinforced racism
  • To be decolonial is to pay attention to racial barriers and divisions that are unconsciously everywhere within educational practices

(E) Global engagement and solidarity

  • Emphasise the interconnectedness of struggles against colonial legacies worldwide
  • Encourage solidarity and shared learning across borders
  • Establish long-term loyal partnerships with the Global South

Defining ‘decolonising education’: elements C and D


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