The Colonial Nature of Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (PSRBs) - Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) specific
Tamunodein Princewill supervised by Aysha Divan and Jacqueline Stevenson
About the student researcher
My name is Odein and I am a Master of Laws candidate specialising in International Law and Global Governance. I am pleased to be involved in research that explores the colonial nature of PSRBs in the United Kingdom because I have an interest in history and race studies. I am Nigerian born and South African bred, as such I am well aware of the impacts of British colonialism on the political and economic landscapes on my home nations. Pursuing this research was interesting to me because it allowed me to identify the impact of British colonialism on the current state of British institutions in the United Kingdom. I also had the opportunity to gain the skills needed for organising a national workshop for ‘Universities and Professional Bodies Working in Partnership to Decolonise the STEM Curriculum’
The objective is to explore the colonial history of the PSRBs and associated activities, identification of interventions that are in place and supporting the organisation of a decolonising workshop. The workshop aims to bring together Higher Education Intuitions (HEIs) and PSRBs to explore how they may work together in this space to drive impactful change.
I have collected data by means of online research and information derived from the national workshop for ‘Universities and Professional Bodies Working in Partnership to Decolonise the STEM Curriculum’.
The aim is to identify ways in which PSRBs in the STEM disciplines can facilitate change in the wider decolonisation of curriculum agendas.
Recommendations in pursuit of addressing the colonial nature of STEM specific PSRBs are:
- There ought to be a discussion surrounding the differing implicit and explicit acknowledgment of colonial histories by PSRBs in the United Kingdom. This recommendation would also pay attention to the varying use of certain diction. Noticeable the fields of geology and geosciences and their overt use of the term ‘decolonise’ as opposed to the societies affiliated with biology and biosciences.
- There is also need to recommend that a decolonisation of curricula in the United Kingdom ought to be a separate academic pursuit in itself. This is because organisations concerned with institutional reform are burdened with addressing other institutional complexities and. as such pursue a forward-looking approach to reforms without addressing historical issues.
Researching the colonial nature of PSRBs, also presented the opportunity of facilitating a workshop of ‘Universities and Professional Bodies Working in Partnership to Decolonise the STEM Curriculum’. The purpose of this workshop was to bring together HEIs and relevant PSRBs to explore means towards a decolonisation of curricula within STEM in a more unified and impactful way. Owing from this workshop in light of the discussed colonial nature of PSRBs, it was further observed that in order to achieve institutional reform:
- PSRBs ought to demarcate the use of the terms ‘decolonisation’, ‘democratisation’, ‘diversity’, ‘equality’ and ‘inclusion. As to ensure that the terms are used as complementary phrases to one another as opposed to substitutions of one another.
- From the workshop it is recommended that the roles of both staff and students ought to be equally emphasised in the pursuit of curricula reform and further decolonisation efforts.
- From the workshop it is recommended that ‘Equality, Diversity and Inclusion’ frameworks be reviewed and monitored on a regular basis. Within a regular review of PSRB activities it is important that pursuing accreditation should not be used as an excuse to defer the necessary adjustments needed in STEM curricula.
- From the workshop it is recommended that more focus should be placed on achieving a forward- looking approach in pursuit of curricula reform.
- It is also recommended that there by an annual ‘decolonising of STEM curricula’ event, as a means of tracking progress, sharing practice and facilitating networking.