The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

A Decolonial Outlook: "Othered from the Offset," Indian Female Student Experiences of Community

Sangeeta Rani, University of Leeds School of Education Esrc (United Kingdom)


This project gained valid insight into the conceptualisations and experiences of community and learning with female Indian students labelled ‘international’ by a university in the North of England. Britain and India have a complex relationship resulting in generations of trauma, both physical and emotional, a damaged economy and altered political systems. Britain’s entanglement with India continues to be of national debate, feeding into Britain’s exuberant history of being superior. Further exposure to the controversy of empire needs to be maintained through active discussion of the communities that already exist and continue to expand within the UK. The Indian diaspora is the largest minority ethnic group in the UK.  Communities, community building, and learning experiences have been impacted by covid-19 health pandemic with physical learning and social communities being moved online. The research methodology was designed with the participants to be co-researchers, creating interview questions, interviewing the principal researcher, and helping to develop the second data collection process.  The qualitative data collection was split into two phases, an online one-to-one conversational interview, followed by a face-to-face conversational interview. Three key narratives were developed. The first narrative explored the ‘otherness’ of the coparticipants when given the label of ‘international,’ as well as the unchallenged value placed on the English language as a colonial legacy; the second narrative focussed on the definitive attitudes on identity as Indians through the learning of India’s historical and political past. The final theme searched for what a community was, covid implications for community building, and the positive and negative experiences of community. Multiple theories and frameworks were used to help guide the research and analysis. I drew upon decolonial and community theories and frameworks to help contextualise the data. 

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