Decolonising education: Is the curriculum too white?

Oxford University’s #RhodesMustFall campaign calls for Oriel College to remove a statue of 19th century imperialist Cecil Rhodes.  For many campaigners, the goal is not just the symbolic removal of a statue, but a more fundamental transformation of the university.  They claim that ‘white’ curricula are responsible for feelings of ‘isolation, marginalisation, alienation and exclusion’ among non-white students.  But should education be concerned with reflecting students’ cultural identities?  Or should education be about fostering, even imposing, a different type of identity, one not given by biology or social background – the identity of the educated individual?

Filmed at the Battle of Ideas, the speakers are Dr Nick Dennis, deputy head (academic), Nottingham High School; Alka Sehgal Cuthbert, educator, writer and doctoral researcher; Dr Dana Mills, political and dance theorists, visiting fellow at NYU; Selwyn Cudjoe, professor of Africana studies, Wellesley College, USA.  The chair is Dr Tiffany Jenkins, writer and broadcaster, author of ‘Keeping Their Marbles: how treasures of the past ended up in museums and why they should stay there.’