Decolonising an engineering curriculum through a community-driven design project
Keywords:chemical engineering, community-driven design project, decolonisation, South Africa, undergraduate engineering curriculum
Following the student-led protests under the umbrellas of #RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall, several South African universities made efforts to transform their curricula to make them more relevant to a diverse student population. To this end, the research site for this study, a research-focused historically English-language university, revamped an existing project done by second-year students in their undergraduate chemical engineering programme. This article presents the application of a decolonisation framework to the revised project. Details about the project implementation were collected in the form of the project brief and the six tasks given to students; and semi-structured interviews were conducted with one course lecturer and one tutor. These details were supplemented with inputs from two authors involved in the project design and delivery. The article demonstrates that an engineering design project can be decolonised by increasing its relevance to the local context, valuing student voices in project design, providing opportunities to students for critical reflection, critiquing the existing engineering knowledge, and designing the project to be community-driven. The article specifically highlights the inadequacy of the existing engineering techniques for application in small-scale community-level projects, thus underlining the need for a broadening of engineering knowledge.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2022 Ashish Agrawal, Hilton Heydenrych, Genevieve Harding
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
An Open Access Publication  is described by the Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing  as meeting two conditions:
- "The author(s) and copyright holder(s) grant(s) to all users a free, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual right of access to, and a license to copy, use, distribute, transmit and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works, in any digital medium for any responsible purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship , as well as the right to make small numbers of printed copies for their personal use.
- A complete version of the work and all supplemental materials, including a copy of the permission as stated above, in a suitable standard electronic format is deposited immediately upon initial publication in at least one online repository that is supported by an academic institution, scholarly society, government agency, or other well-established organization that seeks to enable open access, unrestricted distribution, interoperability, and long-term archiving (for the biomedical sciences, PubMed Central is such a repository)."
All articles published in the Southern Journal of Engineering Education are open access. Articles are published under the terms of a Creative Commons license (CC BY)  which permits readers to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format, and to alter/remix, transform, and build upon the material, including for commercial use, providing the original author is correctly cited.
There is no embargo period placed on articles published in the Southern Journal of Engineering Education before the final published PDF can be placed in an institutional or other suitable subject repository. Authors should provide a link from the archived version to the URL of the published article on the SJEE's website. This link is required to protect the integrity and authenticity of the publication, with the version on the SJEE’s website clearly identified as the definitive version of record.
Authors retain copyright of all open-access articles published in the Southern Journal of Engineering Education.
 Open access is a property of individual works, not necessarily journals or publishers.
 Community standards, rather than copyright law, will continue to provide the mechanism for enforcement of proper attribution and responsible use of the published work, as they do now.