Introduction to Decolonisation

Lesson Plans: Week 8

Decolonising the structure of education

ILOs for the convener and students this week:

  • Identify colonial patterns of power within the educational sector
  • Identify the role of education in challenging systemic inequalities

Lesson Structure

Activity 1: Brainstorming experiences of power and hierarchy in educational settings (allocated time: 15 minutes)

In preparation for this activity, the convener should create an online poll (e.g., via Mentimeter), which will allow students to share responses anonymously and in real time). The poll should take a short answer format and ask the question: ‘Where have you experienced power and hierarchy in an education setting (school, university, or others)?’ Let students think and write responses for 5-10 minutes.

Activity 2: Discussion of readings and co-option of universities (allocated time: 20-40 minutes)

The convener should lead a discussion (with students working in breakout groups, or as an entire class) using the following prompts:

  • Is a Third University possible or is it perpetually a ‘colonising machine’ that cannot be changed?
  • How can we ensure that decolonisation is a genuine effort and not just a co-option of colonial institutions to ensure/legitimise their existence?

Optional areas of discussion:

  • Students could look into their own university’s decolonisation projects and discuss whether these are actually serving the purpose of decolonisation.
  • Students could explore other pitfalls of decolonisation — for example, its being misused for political agendas in India (examples include the removal of chapters on Mughal India from the NCERT syllabus, and how decolonisation is co-opted by an upper-caste agenda.)

Activity 3: Case study (allocated time: 20 minutes)

The convenor should have students watch and discuss this short video on Chris Emdin’s Hip-Hop Education.

Potential discussion questions include:

  • How does Emdin position hip-hop as educational?
  • How does Emdin propose that hip-hop can be used to engage learners?
  • What are the limitations of this approach? Is it suitable for everyone?

Supporting information for this lesson can be found here.