Introduction to Decolonisation

The Future of Decolonisation in Higher Education

The Future of Decolonisation in Higher Education

‘Higher education really shows us a sample of what our society could look like. Students that come into higher education are probably at their final stop before entering into the workforce, which our society is built upon. Whether they go on to become entrepreneurs, academics, researchers, historians, higher education is the last stop, I would say that could help to shape and mold our students into the best version of themselves. decolonizing higher education is important for our students, as it will show them that all of their voices are equally important in academia as well as in society. It will also open their eyes to the oppressive and unjust structures in our society that still remain.’

–Dr Musarrat Maisha Reza, Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences, University of Exeter

Nilanjana Gupta: 

Education is not just about degrees, it’s also about learning about our society, learning about other people in society, interacting with your classmates, with students, you know, from all over the place. And I think that that is a very important part. And, you know, as public universities, I believe that that is one thing that we should try to encourage as much as possible. 


Maisha Reza: 

Students come from various backgrounds of privileges and disadvantages. Yet many are unaware or blind to their own privileges, and how they continue to unconsciously uphold structures of inequality. Many are aware but are afraid to challenge those structures because they may feel like it would be an uphill battle. It is not only important to decolonize higher education, we need to partner with students as co-creators of solutions and step forward in this process. It will empower them and enable them to reflect on the role they can play at present and in the future, regardless of their career paths to dismantle systems founded on racism and oppression, and contribute to an ecosystem of equality, diversity, and inclusion. 


John Bruun: 

It’s very much about identity, and whose voices are we enabling in the space where we learn, and where we derive knowledge from. And what’s become very apparent over the past recent few years, is that many of our frames of thinking, are very Westernized in terms of a colonial past, the past 200 years. So there is an immediate need to bring in and to re-evaluate what voices have we missed in doing this? Because if you think about the positionality of the voices, we’re talking up in education, there are many missing ones as well. That comes also in inclusive gender inclusivity, and minority groups. So there’s a need to be very reflective. In terms of, okay, what can we do more of, what is a salient fact, and what is more of a cultural, cultural bias that and so we’re working together across the different sectors of our academic culture, to actually reimagine what that actually involves. 


Partha Chatterjee:  

The question that now is crucial, in my view, today regarding what needs to be done further, in terms of decolonizing the content of our education…It seems to me the question of indigenous knowledge and the relevance of knowledges that were produced not within the universal structures of the university, but outside the university essentially, in many other institutions and spheres of social life. Increasingly, that is coming under the purview of what needs to be taught in the universities or what researchers in various fields of higher education need to look at. 


Maroona Murmu: 

So are, there needs to be a total overhauling of the idea of what is education in the first place. So I think education starts at the family. Nature teachers us like nothing. So, it’s like, we need to create sensitized parents in the first place — and for that, we need to decolonize the minds of the parents. Unless there is the overhauling of the thinking process of the parents, education cannot be restructured. So there should be a change in the social psyche, because the parents actually reflect ideas which are there in the society. So it’s like, it’s all about ideology. As I said, imperialism was all about ideology, so colonization of the mind. So decolonization has to start there.