Special Reports

Student Union Urges School To Remove White Philosophers From Curriculum


A student union from a university in London has urged the school to remove white philosophers from the curriculum. This is a call for diversity to represent the institution's focus on Asia and Africa.

The Independent reported that students at the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) made the demand as part of its "educational priorities" for this year. This was among the many suggestions to "address the structural and epistemological legacy of colonialism" in the school as part of their efforts to "decolonize" the group.

Black British Academics founder Dr. Deborah Gabriel said that a "culturally democratic curriculum" should be taught at all universities, regardless of the students' ethnic background. She described the current teaching as being "eurocentric."

However, she did explain that decolonizing should lead to not studying about white philosophers. She clarified that several scholars also engage in anti-racist teaching.

In their official website, SOAS outlined several educational priorities that they propose for 2017. Aside from their "Decolonizing SOAS" campaign, the student union also wants to widen the scope of scholarships for refugees, with the campaign named "Education beyond Borders."

Moreover, they are proposing for lectures to be recorded and made available online especially for disabled students. They also talked about the attainment gap and suggested ways to improve on the issue.

They want to develop the infrastructure that is needed for a strategy to lessen the attainment gap. They also urge the University of London to acknowledge and address institutional racism. In addition, they want the school to create an inclusive learning and teaching environment.

Another proposal is about providing more support for working class students so that they can still get higher education even if they can't afford one. The student union wants the school to engage in the local community to make sure that "knowledge production is more widely accessible."

Lastly, they also address the improvement of treatment of mental health. They asked for other assessment alternatives and to create more peer support networks so that students can help each other.

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