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#DecoloniseEducation

Monday 28 September 2020 Campaigns News

NUS have launched our #DecoloniseEducation campaign for Black History Month.

Black History Month (BHM) is about remembering and celebrating Black people, histories and events of the African and Caribbean diaspora. 

In a global context, a few examples of this would look like reflecting and learning from the revolutionary abolitionists who made Haiti the world’s first Black republic; the civil rights movement in the United States; or the Decolonisation movement in Africa from the 1950s to the ‘70s

In a UK context, this looks like commemorating: 

At the roots of these movements are a deep hunger and determination to rebuild how things are done, and remove all the things that have led to racism, colonialism and imperialism. And in their place, the aim and vision of a world that is accountable for this violence and works towards restorative justice.

This would be done by working together towards cultural, psychological and economic freedom. Decolonisation as theory and practice is used to imagine this and create what this change would look like. 

 

Decolonisation in practice is about bringing to light and taking apart colonialist power in all its forms. For this, we also need to understand that society as we know it is built upon this power. 

This includes all the things that perpetuate and reproduce the legacy of colonialism in areas like education, housing, finance, policing, healthcare and many more. 

For example, if we look at education, it is about paying attention to how our education system, our schools, colleges and universities, and ways of learning are built on colonial histories. They all put whiteness at the centre and as a neutral perspective to learn about our world.  

Decolonising means providing students, staff and their local communities with the tools and language to critically identify the ways our schools, colleges and universities are built using the same colonial hierarchies. It also means empowering them to confront, challenge and reject the status quo. They would then be able to reimagine how things can be done differently and create alternatives  that would benefit us all. 

Currently, we do not trust schools, colleges and universities senior leadership teams in their effort to decolonise their institution. And this makes sense: they benefit from it as individuals and don’t want to lose the power they gained from it. This is why we are supporting the creation of alternative learning spaces, such as the Free Black University, who are outside of the current model.  

 

Together, Black History Month honours and celebrates those before us, who created the conditions for us to be who we are today, and Decolonisation urges us to learn and take action from this history when challenging and changing society.  

When thinking about these possibilities, Assata Shakur puts it perfectly: “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.” 

So this October, we are launching #NUSDecoloniseEducation. This launch will offer several opportunities to discuss, as a community, what decolonisation means for us. From this, in this academic year, we will organise many opportunities to learn and grow together, so we can imagine and create learning spaces free from racism, colonialism and imperialism. 

Click here to visit our campaign launch page.