We examine the tensions and complements between student expectations and institutional pressures and the potential for truly transformative development programmes in higher education. Under the theme of 'opening up', we discuss how to open up development studies and overcome barriers to change.
This panel critically engages with the neoliberal structures and politics of higher education that shape student expectations and demands of their development studies degrees and set the parameters for the teaching of development studies (e.g. the rapid turnaround of a one year masters). We explore the potential for opening up development studies education to deliver truly transformative learning, and thus shape the industry, in both this structural context and in light of university-wide calls to decolonise curricula, industry-wide calls to foster new alliances and south-south collaborations, and activist-led calls to connect traditional development concerns to global political struggles for rights to life, movement and dignity. In session, we present both critiques of the structures that underpin the tripartite relationship between development studies student, academic and university; and practical contributions to transformative development education. These might include: efforts to decolonise curricula, diversify student intake by socio-economic group and geography, diversify teaching staff and decentre expertise, and thoughtfully curated examples of 'development practice' that challenge traditional and problematic representations of who does development, where and what it looks like.