Decolonising, Africanising, indigenising and internationalising Curriculum Studies : Opportunities to (re)imagine the field

Le Grange, Lesley (2018)

CITATION: Le Grange, L. 2018. Decolonising, Africanising, indigenising, and internationalising curriculum studies : opportunities to (re)imagine the field. Journal of Education, 74:4-18, doi:10.17159/10.17159/2520-9868/i74a01.

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In recent years the terms internationalisation, indigenising, decolonising, and Africanising have circulated in discourses on curriculum both internationally and in South Africa. Recent student protests in South Africa have precipitated a particular interest in the decolonising of the university curriculum. As a consequence, we are witnessing contestations on the topic in scholarly journals and books, and in the popular media. The concept, decolonisation of the curriculum, has also been bandied around loosely by some students, eliciting criticism on the lack of clarity about this. The field of curriculum studies in South Africa has been characterised by a focus on banal matters related to the national curriculum: the merits and demerits of outcomes-based education; findings of standardised tests; assessment; continuity and progression; classroom pedagogy; and so forth. The upshot of this is that the field has become hackneyed, unimaginative, and unable to address bigger questions such as the ones raised in the Call for Papers of this special issue. I argue in this article that the concepts internationalising, indigenising, decolonising, and Africanising could be the impetus for the renewal of the field of curriculum studies in South Africa. In the article I clarify what is meant by the internationalising, indigenising, decolonising, and Africanising of the curriculum. I discuss the ways in which the concepts are disparate and explore the conceptual connections between and among them. My exploration opens up alternative ways of thinking curriculum through viewing it as a “complicated conversation” (Pinar, 2004a, p. xiv) that could have potentially transformative effects on the field of curriculum studies in South Africa. My main aim here is to register the possibility of such complicated conversations happening in South African curriculum studies.

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