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The core of knowledge?

What conceptions do we have about knowledge? I have observed this question from a specific perspective during work to integrate knowledge about Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, into first and third cycle education at KTH.

In discussions about education and learning, words such as fundamental, broader or deeper, often appear in descriptions of various kinds of knowledge requirements. Many people think there is only one kind of basic knowledge within specific areas that everyone must learn, which indicates a perception that it is this that is the area of knowledge. The core.

Other kinds of knowledge that are also important can be added to this, but these can perhaps change over time and that as a whole, they comprise a certain scope for flexibility. This is often called breadth. And then comes the in-depth part. This is especially important in higher education, not least within research. In-depth knowledge is more indicative of analysis and problematisation. Of being able to think for yourself and to be able to apply and question knowledge. To develop new knowledge.

What does knowledge of Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion represent at a university of technology? The most usual view is to see this as broadening knowledge that then gives you a new perspective on society. But is basic knowledge enough, you may ask?

As it is a mandatory part of our programmes, it can broaden minds in ways other than purely at an individual level, namely because this knowledge is shared by many people. Shared knowledge promotes developing dialogues and change. Having basic knowledge about Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, means people can become curious to learn more and seek more in-depth knowledge in special courses. At KTH, the big step in this case is that we are going from a handful of students taking optional more in-depth courses to all students gaining basic knowledge about equality, diversity and inclusion.

They gain a new perspective that they can take with them in their continued studies. Some of them will gain deeper knowledge about equality, diversity and inclusion within their own subject, others will seek to develop via continued studies or by applying their knowledge in working life.