In Defence Of Decolonial And Disruptive Curriculum – OpEd


Universities are no longer producing critical mass to question power for social, political and economic transformation of society for greater common goods. Universities are no longer producing independent knowledge traditions to address essentialist and emancipatory needs of individuals and societies in short run and long run.

The governmental and non-governmental funding bodies control the nature, scope, structure and outputs of the research within higher education. The growing managerialisms have transformed universities and higher educational institutions into bastions of compliance culture in the name of quality processes, knowledge transfer and employability. The unqualified, underqualified and inefficient managers of higher education hide behind these processes in the name of student satisfaction. These managers neither teach nor conduct research but talk about abstract quality processes in teaching and research; the twin pillars of higher education. This is the context in which higher education needs radical transformation to ensure its critical role in the lives of individuals, states and societies. 

Universities and institutions of higher education must decolonise itself from dominant knowledge traditions, Eurocentric bias, managerialism, patriarchy, capitalism and all forms of hierarchy. These issues hinder in the growth of secular, scientific and pluriversal knowledge traditions focusing on the people and planet. The dominant knowledge traditions uphold ruling and non-ruling class interests and create paradigms to sustain all forms of inequalities and exploitative systems and processes. The universalisation of dominant knowledge traditions are inherently carrying Eurocentric bias in teaching, learning and dissemination of research publications. It also produces different forms of managerial gate keeping to sustain such a form of knowledge tradition that upholds values of racialised patriarchal capitalism. This is neither sustainable nor helpful for progressive social transformation. 

Decolonialisation of curriculum, research and teaching does not mean adding or replacing scholars and their work within representational framework.  Decolonisation of curriculum means decolonisation and democratisation of knowledge production, evaluation and dissemination beyond the dominant frameworks of knowledge traditions which are racially managed, sexually controlled and territorially prejudiced. 

Similarly, decolonisation also demands the end of managerialism and modularisation of higher education. It is destroying interconnectedness of knowledge production, management and dissemination.  The growing managerialism and modularisation has led to race of profit driven education in which students, teachers and researchers compete with each other for gradation; students for marks, teachers for student satisfaction grades, and researchers for quick impact factor evaluation. This unhealthy competition destroys the critical potentials of teaching and research in higher education and in the processes of knowledge production and dissemination.  In such a scenario, knowledge transfer in higher education has becoming a process driven machine where education is merely a profit driven business. 

In this context, universities, higher education institutions and practitioners of higher education needs to decolonise themselves and develop disruptive curriculum for a greater common good focusing on people and the planet. Decolonisation and disruptive curriculum development needs to focus on the ideal that knowledge needs free and autonomous to be secular, scientific and social. Disruption of teaching, learning, evaluation, research, knowledge production, management and dissemination is central to develop new forms of pluriversal, democratic, secular and scientific knowledge traditions accessible and available to all without any forms of barriers.  

Egalitarian, inclusive, democratic and sustainable values are imperative for all involved in the production, management and dissemination of knowledge. The human empowerment needs to replace human resource development in higher education. The honing of universal values of science, secularism, citizenship rights and peaceful coexistence with natural world is crucial for the present and future of higher education. Universities and other intuitions of higher education needs to play a greater role in such a transformation.

Recent technological advancements and digitalisation of society demands greater transparency in the processes of knowledge production and dissemination. Universities and higher education institutions can’t insulate themselves from such a demand for accountability in the form of providing democratic, secular and scientific knowledge to all irrespective of their social, economic, political, sexual, racial, regional, cultural and religious backgrounds. Therefore, democratisation of knowledge and deepening of secular and scientific ethos are needs of our present and future. Decolonise mind and disrupt power for a radical transformation of education for the emancipation of individuals and societies from all forms of inequalities, exploitations and bondages of reactionary thoughts and practices. for greater common goods which can serve people and the planet.

Bhabani Shankar Nayak

Bhabani Shankar Nayak works as Professor of Business Management, Guildhall School of Business and Law, London Metropolitan University, UK.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *