Practice Papers

Document Type

Conference Paper


Engineering projects are ubiquitous; from developing COVID-19 vaccines to building new cities and developing climate change solutions. An inclusive approach to teaching engineers how to master the complexities of engineering project management is vital to the deliverability of sustainability and net zero initiatives (Hockings 2010). Yet, our engineering curricula remain deeply rooted in Western epistemology (Winter et al. 2022, Mbembe 2015). Arguably, this is an opportune time to consider decolonising our curricula. At a fundamental level, ‘decolonising the curriculum’ means introducing previously ignored voices, images, authors, theories and arguments into our teaching (Rogers et al. 2022). This is a challenge in the subject of engineering project management, where we have a rigid body of knowledge that forms the backbone of our curricula. In this paper, we argue that we must not lose the richness of theory, models and processes taught in our engineering curricula. However, we do need to search out or build knowledge of how projects in the Global South or among indigenous peoples may be managed differently and listen to and amplify voices from those cultures and communities. Ubuntu is one such alternative knowledge system, which we propose as an example of how we can amplify new voices within our engineering curricula and begin the work of decolonising our discipline (Metz 2007, Naude 2019). Our paper is based on a critical review of extant literature. We challenge readers with an evidenced call to action to embed the Ubuntu values and its benefits for students into engineering education.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.