REF2021 21Z_ICS_B: Decolonising education and influencing policy and public discussions on racism.

    Impact: Public Policy or Services impacts, Cultural impacts

    Description of impact

    Research carried out by Professor Kehinde Andrews demonstrated the need for systemic changes in education to address structural racism against people of African descent and led to impact on three levels:

    Influencing European Union (EU), United Nations (UN) and United States (US) policy changes towards education by providing recommendations to policymakers on how to amend legislation to improve the national curricula by including history of People of African Descent and European colonialism;

    Aiding educators in British schools and colleges, as well as universities across the globe, to help them recognise the Eurocentric nature of the standard curricula and radically alter the way they teach;

    Supporting non-governmental organisations, such as Each One Teach One (EOTO) and Christian Aid, in enhancing the conceptual frameworks used to develop internal policies and outreach, thus empowering people of African descent.

    Details of Impact
    Influencing and contributing to global policy change

    Andrews’ work on Black radical politics led him to be invited to three major consultation events, where Andrews presented his research on structural racism in education and the ways the current curricula must be changed [S01]. This group of events have resulted in several documents that have laid the groundwork for changes in EU, UN and US legislature.

    For the first event, organised by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), Andrews’ consultation as an expert contributed to the development of the FRA report ‘Being Black in the EU’ [S02]. The report subsequently influenced European Parliament Resolution of 19 June 2020 on the anti-racism protests following the death of George Floyd. This Resolution stated that Europe’s colonial past and role in the slave trade “should be recognised at EU and national level, and be addressed at institutional level and within education”. This resolution additionally noted “the crucial role of education in deconstructing prejudices and stereotypes” and that education is “a key tool to end structural discrimination and racism in our societies” [S03].

    Andrews was invited by a Member of the European Parliament to attend the multi-day, EU-sponsored People of African Descent (PAD) Week as the only representative of the Higher Education sector. The event was held in May 2018 in the European Parliament. Here, Andrews spoke about the importance of making the history of people of African Descent part of university and school curricula, which was neglected in UK and European education. He argued that these gaps could not be addressed by simple addition of separate modules into the curricula – the change needed to be more systemic. The PAD Week led directly to the EU Parliament Resolution on the Fundamental Rights of People of African Descent.

    The EU Parliament Resolution was recognised as a “a historic watershed moment” by the Chair of the European Network Against Racism, marking the first time the specific issues of racism and fundamental rights of people of African descent were recognised at the European level. The resolution means the official recognition that people of African descent have a presence in Europe and that nation states have a responsibility towards them. Andrews’ research and recommendations at the PAD Week led to the inclusion of Article 20 of the Resolution whereby the European Parliament requests “Member States to make the history of people of African descent part of their curricula and to present a comprehensive perspective on colonialism and slavery which recognises their historical and contemporary adverse effects on people of African descent, and to ensure that teachers are adequately trained for this task and properly equipped to address diversity in the classroom” [S04].

    Andrews’ contributions also supported the development of the EU Commission’s conclusion paper [S05] that provided informal guidance to the European policymakers and the US Congressional Bill Res. 256 entitled “Resolution Recognizing people of African descent and Black Europeans”. This bill was a direct response to the PAD Week as stated in its text [S06].

    Andrews co-led an “information gathering session” for the United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. His own research-based contributions to this fact-finding mission informed the UN report on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and racial intolerance. The report called on member states to “take urgent steps to ensure representative and accurate accounts of slavery, colonialism and their contemporary legacies, including in their education systems” [S07].

    Shaping educational policy and pedagogy

    Establishing the first Black Studies degree in Europe had firmly rooted Andrews and his work at the centre of the decolonisation movement. Andrews provided insight to universities across the globe (including the University of Bremen, University of Southern California, University of Sao Paolo, and University of Bristol), equipping these institutions with the tools they need to incorporate changes to their curricula. For example, Maynooth University found that Andrews’ research contributions resulted in “improved attention to questions of race and discrimination” by University management and improved conditions for applying for funding and sustaining the discussion on racism in education.

    Due to the strength of his research in the area of racism and education, Andrews was invited by the Bernie Grant Trust to collaborate in developing a resource for teachers to include Black history in their everyday teaching. The material included hitherto ignored struggles from the recent Black history of the 1980s and 1990s. Andrews’ research was utilised to specifically understand “how items from the extensive Bernie Grant Archive could be linked directly to Key Stages in the national curriculum in a way that made it easy for teachers to use the material.”

    Andrews, along with undergraduate students from Birmingham City University’s Black Studies degree, ran two workshops at London’s BSix sixth form college. Here, he introduced students and teachers to his research and encouraged them to rethink their approach to education. One BSix teacher noted that Andrews’ workshops “had a considerable impact on my attempt to create a parallel curriculum to A Levels.” According to one student, Andrews’ work “opened our eyes to the lack of representation in the educational system” and fuelled discussions that extended outside of the classroom. Another student stated, “I went home to talk to my parents, and it sparked a longer conversation about Black history and how much we don’t know” [S08].

    Improving policies within third sector organisations

    Andrews facilitated workshops with several non-governmental organisations, whose focus is on empowering people of African descent. These were Black Archives Amsterdam, Christian Aid in the UK, Centre for Social Change in South Africa, and Each One Teach One (EOTO) in Berlin, Germany.

    In addition to impact from PAD week event co-organised by EOTO and other organisations, the Project Manager at EOTO said, “[a]s a result of Andrews' research and our discussions, we have started introducing ways of how African descendants can be more accurately portrayed and recognized in German systems of education, knowledge production, including recognizing positive contributions, and histories of colonialism, enslavement, and redress. This has led to several activities for People of African descent… such as our three-day community conferences … in the German Bundestag (2019, 600 attendees) and the European Parliament (2018, 150 attendees […]).” These events, policy debates and subsequent publications by EOTO “led to an increase of engagement among the Black civil society in Germany as well as to a confrontation of mainstream society with the colonial past of Germany”. EOTO continued to work with Andrews in developing an anti-Black racism campaign and guidelines for their Black Empowerment Academy [S09].

    According to Christian Aid’s Strategist and Chief Development Economist, Andrews’ work had been fundamental in providing a better “structural argument of reparations” that “has been interwoven into strategy” in the social justice activism of Christian Aid. “Having a credible body of work that Professor Kehinde Andrews has pioneered on Black radical thought has validated the arguments we have been trying to make and has helped to turn the corner.” She continued, “whereas previous arguments of racial disparity might have been dismissed, the strength of this work has led to it not being easily dismissible” [S10].
    Impact date20182020
    Category of impactPublic Policy or Services impacts, Cultural impacts