Why we shouldn’t shy away from discussions around decolonising curricula


  • Danielle Tran Greenwich University




widening participation, access, decolonising curriculum,


Within the last decade, there has been a steady growth of literature discussing the benefits of internationalising curricula, strategies for making curricula more international and the impact this can have on students’ experience during their time at university and beyond in the world of work. ‘[I]nternationalisation of the curriculum seeks on the one hand to adapt course syllabi as well as teaching and assessment methods to the needs of students who come together from all over the world, bringing with them a plethora of views, cultures, and experiences with learning and teaching; on the other hand, the globalised job market and global political and cultural interactions demand a new style of Higher Education’ (University of Essex, 2012, p.7). The latter definition of internationalising the curriculum thus has clear connections to the argument for decolonising the curriculum, which has been gaining momentum within the critical sphere. Yet the definition for decolonisation curricula continues to be debated. While the internationalising and decolonising of curricula both call for a review of course content and delivery in light of the diverse body of students in our classrooms, I have found there to be at times a slight hesitancy among academics towards employing the phrase ‘decolonising the curriculum’ and fully engaging with conversations around this topic.

Author Biography

Danielle Tran, Greenwich University

Senior Lecturer in Learning, Teaching, and Professional DevelopmentEducational Development UnitGreenwich University


Gopal, P. (2017) ‘Yes, we must decolonise: our teaching has to go beyond elite white men.’ The Guardian (27 October 2017). Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/oct/27/decolonise-elite-white-men-decolonising-cambridge-university-english-curriculum-literature (Accessed: 31 October 2018).

Liverpool John Moores University (no date) Internationalising the Curriculum: A toolkit. Available at: https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/system/files/internationalisation_toolkit.pdf (Accessed: 31 October 2018).

University of Sussex Students’ Union (2018) Decolonise Education. (Student campaign) Available at: https://www.sussexstudent.com/campaigns/decolonize-education/ (Accesssed: 21 May 2018).

Students’ Union UCL (2018) Decolonise UCL. (Student campaign) Available at: http://studentsunionucl.org/make-change/what-were-working-on-0/decolonise-ucl (Accessed: 21 May 2018).