New report calls for the decolonisation of universities in order address a silent crisis

Tags: wellbeing | student experience | decolonisation

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The Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) has published a new report with original testimony and practical guidance for UK universities on decolonising higher education. The report establishes that the decolonisation of UK universities is vital for the improvement of course curricula, pedagogical practice, staff wellbeing and the student experience. 

Miseducation: decolonising curricula, culture and pedagogy in UK universities is based on over 20 hours of interviews with leading figures in academia, student activism and higher education policy. The report’s recommendations include:

·         Ensuring a better understanding of decolonisation and ending its conflation with equality, diversity and inclusion initiatives.

·         Prioritising decolonisation in order to expand the curriculum and improve both teaching and course content.

·         Increasing Government and university funding for BAME research and BAME-only scholarships.

·         Tackling discrimination, hostility and unconscious bias against those working on decolonisation.

·         Creating departmental roles to work specifically on issues relating to anti-racism and the decolonising of their department.

·         Establishing channels for collaboration on these issues between students and faculty.

Sixteen contributors were interviewed for the report. These include: lecturers; a Vice Chancellor; officers at students’ unions, including the NUS; undergraduate activists; and policy advisers to universities. The contributors are listed in full at the start of the report.

Mia Liyanage, author of the report and Master’s student at the University of Oxford, said:

This report is a vital resource for universities amid current calls for anti-racist reform. Miseducation contains powerful testimony from experts, and from staff and students of colour, who describe a silent crisis in our universities.

Anti-racism demands more from us than diversity – decolonisation is the crucial next step for our institutions. Meaningful change requires commitment, for which this report provides a clear roadmap.

In the Foreword to the report, Professor Iyiola Solanke, Professor of EU Law and Social Justice at University of Leeds and founder of the Black Female Professors Forum, said:

As set out in this important report, adoption of the decolonisation agenda must embrace all aspects of higher education – including pedagogy –  so that key social and political institutions, such as the police, can in all aspects be reflective of the population that they serve.

An outdated euro-centrism, that no longer reflects the world in which graduates will live and work, must not be allowed to dominate in our classrooms or in the country.