In this article Cara Chittenden, SU President Exeter explains how the recent disheartening comments of Michelle Donelan on Decolonising the Curriculum show that it's important for students to be leading the process, and provides some tangible actions you can take to do this right now.
"In recent weeks, Michelle Donelan, Minister of State for Universities’, has made some disheartening comments about Decolonising the Curriculum. Ms Donelan equated Decolonising the Curriculum work with “censoring history like the Soviet Union”, and suggested it will lead to history becoming more like fiction, as people edit and remove things they don’t like. Her comments showed a deep misunderstanding of what Decolonising the Curriculum actually means!
I fully support NUS' statement in response to Ms Donelan’s comments:
"Decolonising education has nothing to do with censoring history. It is about more history being taught, not less. It is about students being encouraged to engage with more critical voices, not fewer [...] It is ludicrous that the Government are spinning a false story of "woke" students ripping up history books whilst universities look to shut history departments, thanks to the Government's failure to provide them with a sufficient financial support package."
Ms Donelan’s comments show why it is so important for students to be leading the process of Decolonising the Curriculum. We are the only people who can accurately reflect on experiences of studying at universities in 2021 and therefore, the best people to help create a learning experience that is more inclusive AND historically accurate for current and future students.
If you want to know more about what Decolonising the Curriculum means and/or if you want to contribute your voice to the Decolonising the Curriculum campaign being led at Exeter’s Cornwall Campuses, please look at our campaign page.
There’s a simple survey you can fill out, which also comes with the chance to win a bundle of University of Exeter merchandise in our Prize Draw!
Link to full NUS statement: https://www.nus.org.uk/articles/in-response-to-ms-donelan-s-misunderstanding-of-decolonising-education?fbclid=IwAR3birqzS79smDyndxSOJC_jr1ErT0p6asI4VTzV7UX2Q1H4AjaUR6qU1fI"
Cara Chittenden, SU President Exeter