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Towards decolonising a unit of work in the curriculum: exploring the inclusion of scientists of non-western descent in the science curriculum, by pre-service teachers.

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Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements of 2010, was established after 1994 to deal with several things such as gender and racial inequalities in education. However, women and individuals of non-western descent continue to be under-represented in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) careers, while white, euro-western men dominate in these fields. This study provided an opportunity to pre-service teachers to analyse the school science curriculum in South Africa. To develop a lesson plan based on a unit of work in the science curriculum in which they could incorporate scientists of non-western descent. This qualitative study was located in critical and decolonial theory. Data generation involved; document analysis of lesson plans which pre-service teachers were instructed to develop within groups and individual interviews which were conducted via WhatsApp. Participants were sampled from the registered stream of students in the Natural Sciences 211 module of the first semester of the 2020 academic year. The implication of the findings was that white euro-western male scientists continue to be perpetuated as the holders of scientific knowledge in school science education. This study concludes by proposing that curriculum designers portray males and females of non-western descent as equal producers of scientific knowledge, therefore addressing the colonial nature of the school science curriculum. In this way, more conducive environments for science teaching and learning will be attained, and possibly advance female and non-western representation and participation in STEM fields.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.