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Burning question - decolonizing education

In January 2020 there was an intriguing seminar at Oulu university called burning question. This seminar is an example of student initiative since it was established and run by students themselves. The theme for this year’s seminar was decolonizing education. There was a worthwhile exchange of experiences, interesting discussions and numerous avenues to reflect upon on different level. The seminar started with a panel discussion on a variety of subjects from Sami perspectives on decoloniality, decolonization of educational definitions and concepts and western solutions on decoloniality which were heavily criticized because they were perceived as new ways of colonization especially in the African context. Then we moved forward to the workshops that were designed, organized and run by students in the following days. The themes of the workshops were decolonizing Edtech, educational export, critical pedagogies in higher education, spaces and places of learning and the optional workshop on decolonizing the kitchen.

      My reflection on this seminar left me with the thought that it was an extraordinary event, not only for its topic that was thought-provoking and relevant but also for the fact that such an amazing event was initiated, held and run by merely students. I was astonished and impressed by all the efforts in this seminar and also felt empowered and inspired to dare to take imitative and be a part of such an amazing event. In addition, what I found personally meaningful was the answer to one of my questions that I had been dealing with for quite some time. I had been wondering how I can break the monopoly of single perspectives and definitions of concepts that have been provided only by western scholars. For instance, the concept of agency has been dominantly defined by American authors and I found that a bit narrow and restricted. The commonly-accepted definition that has been offered cannot contain this idea in my own culture and language. So I wanted to add my perspective to this discourse but I had no ideas how. Through the discussion and exchange of ideas with my fellow students and other professors and experts, I realized it is not and should not be complicated to act upon this matter. First I ought to be confident in and then take the responsibility to reserve a room for including my culture and perspective and share them in every academic transaction I have. Probably the most important take away from this seminar was that being a critical thinker is not adequate especially in the context of decolonization. On top of that it is needed to act upon our reflections and criticism.

      The other take away from this seminar was that throughout this seminar we were constantly asked to reflect upon almost everything on coming up with ideas. This process of constant reflection thought me that whenever we would like to change or even approach changing anything, we have to start with ourselves. The starting point for that would be a reflection. The students who organized this event did the same thing because the first year of this seminar in 2019, decoloniality was only a theme of one workshop of the seminar but once they got a lot of feedback from the participants on how much they enjoyed the topic, they decided to make this issue the main theme of the whole seminar this year.  Additionally, the students who organized this event proved that we are able to be the change we want to see in the world if only we take the responsibility and commit to take even a baby-step. You can also find more information here

Faraz

Burning question - decolonizing education Burning question - decolonizing education Reviewed by ambassadors on 12:19 Rating: 5

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