The Decolonisation of Education - A Research Proposal

During the last years, decolonisation has become an increasingly important topic in European
universities. While academics acknowledge the importance of decolonisation, many feel that the transition of knowledge into reality is lacking. Especially people that suffer from racist bias are experiencing this absence of a sincere confrontation with the colonial past of the higher educational system. This negatively affects the everyday life of people studying at European Universities and undermines the educational task of the system.


For this reason, our working group of the UGlobe consultancy project started to develop a
research framework to evaluate the structures that enable institutions of higher education to reproduce colonial stereotypes. Following three processes, the research focuses on the curriculum, the governance and student involvement at an institute of higher education. To analyze these categories, we propose different research methods of document analysis, critical background analysis, surveys and interviews. This research framework aims at helping students to conduct the research and delivers an overall framework providing a starting point for their own research.

Like most projects, our project has been affected by the unforeseeable COVID-19 crisis. We, as
a group of students, had to adjust to the situation that not only had an impact on our academic, but also our private lives. We, being a diverse group with people from different backgrounds, endured these impacts in individual ways. It was and is our goal to contribute to the decolonisation of the higher educational system and, despite the ongoing crisis, to carry out projects like ours. It should not be put on hold as it is linked to a high value for the people affected. It is our goal to accomplish this project with a final product that can be used by other students and teachers, and that helps to bring the decolonisation process forward in European universities.

This project was led by dr. Laura Henderson.

'Research Proposal: Decolonising Higher Education, UGlobe Consultancy 2020'
Team: Ruba Aldaher, Droovi de Zilva, Anaïs Fopma, Mirthe Hendriks, Jannes Pittermann
Fenna Vogelzang, dr. Laura Henderson (adviser).

Download the report here

Powered by the Utrecht University Centre for Global Challenges (2019 & 2020)

CONTACT: - Frank Gerits  & Rachel Gillett (co-PI's)