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Decolonisation of curricula in undergraduate dental education: an exploratory study

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-11-22, 21:22 authored by Kamran Ali, Jennie Winter, Oliver Webb, Daniel Zahra

Aims To explore experiences and perceptions of students and staff regarding decolonisation of the curriculum in a dental undergraduate programme.

Methods Participants were invited to respond to an online survey on decolonisation of the dental curriculum. The target population included current students on the Bachelor of Dental Surgery and Bachelor of Dental Therapy and Hygiene programmes, as well as dental staff at a university in the South West region of England. The common items for student and staff versions of the survey were focused on six themes: representation; content; peer engagement; assessment; language and communication; and culture. All responses were anonymous. Data on programme, year of study, age, sex and ethnicity were captured on a voluntary basis.

Results In total, 34 staff members and 120 students from two different programmes participated in the survey, yielding a response rate of 87.17% for staff and 45.28% for students. A comparison showed that average student responses were lower compared with average staff responses. Of the 24 survey items, 17 showed significantly lower scores reported by minority ethnic (ME) students. ME students were, when compared with white counterparts, less likely to report that their programme included opportunities for group discussions about ethnicity and privilege. Similar comparisons of staff responses did not show significant differences between white and ME staff. Nevertheless, responses by staff and students across the board highlighted the need for further steps to improve the representation of ME groups in the curriculum.

Conclusions This study provides useful insights into the perceptions and experiences of students and staff regarding the decolonisation of the dental curriculum in an undergraduate dental programme. Responses by the participants across the board identified several areas which could benefit from better representation of ME groups. Significant differences were noted between staff and student scores and also between white and ME students, indicating the latter group demonstrated more awareness regarding issues of representation. The findings underscore the need to take further steps to decolonise dental curricula.

Other Information

Published in: British Dental Journal
See article on publisher's website:



  • English


Springer Science and Business Media LLC

Publication Year

  • 2022

Institution affiliated with

  • Qatar University

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