Decolonise the Curriculum

Decolonise the Curriculum


A diverse range of modules and reading lists will enable all students, but BAME students in particular, to engage with a more representative and inclusive education and leave university with a more diverse understanding of their field.


Identify subjects that need to be diversified so these courses can have more diverse reading lists so that there is more diversity in teaching and reading.


  • Met with university staff who have already contributed to decolonisation of the curriculum.

  • Looked at other Universities and Students’ Unions to see what steps they have taken.

  • Asked students which courses and schools are a good example.

  • Begun to create some guidance for teaching and schools staff to decolonise their teaching.


Britain used to have a lot of ‘colonies’ - other countries under its control. Britain was in charge of them during different periods in history.

For example, in the 17th and 18th centuries, Britain ruled over parts of North America, and in the 19th century most of India and large parts of Africa were British colonies. At its peak, the British Empire was the largest and most influential empire in the world.

However, many feel that parts of Britain’s colonial history are being left out and not taught. For example, the role Britain played in taking people as slaves from Africa to the Americas.

Decolonisation of the curriculum’, means we should question whose viewpoint the information is coming from.

The Black Lives Matter movement has turned up the pressure on all areas of UK society to confront its colonial legacy.

Within universities more and more students are asking for decolonised curriculums and more thinkers of colour on reading lists.

Decolonising movements maintain the perception that UK universities must destabilise existing management structures.

What can you do?

Get in touch with your lectures asking them to be more diverse. You can see some subject specific examples from the University of Westminster.

Email Rachel, RUSU’s Diversity Officer, with any great examples you have.

Check out places you can find out more yourself.

Where did the idea come from?

  • The disclosure comes as universities are under pressure to modernise their syllabuses to address the attainment gap between white students and those from black and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.The campaign to give a fuller version of British history that reflects injustices and lauds the contributions of black British people has also won widespread support from the Black Lives Matter protesters. Read more about why people want this change.
  • The National Union of Students has also been advocating for Decolonisation of the Curriculum – with emphasis on why this is so important in 2020.