Human Rights Education in Diversity (Religion, Culture and Gender) 

Subarea leader: Prof Shan Simmonds

Secundus: Dr Annamagriet de Wet

Human Rights Education in Diversity (Religion, Culture and Gender) addresses human rights in education as praxis with the emphasis on gender, belief systems and cultural diversity, contributing to human rights literacy and human rights education. The main aim is to develop sustainable strategies to assist educators to infuse a culture of human rights in diverse education contexts.

The subarea aims to:

  • develop sustainable strategies to assist educators to infuse a culture of human rights in diverse contexts;
  • conduct cutting-edge research on matters regarding human rights, gender issues, belief systems and cultures in the context of education;
  • contribute to theory and transformative curriculum development;
  • establish a core research group to engage in collaboration to sustain and support the increasing need for research in this domain, and to engage in rigorous discourses on Human Rights Education in diverse contexts.


Legal and Comparative Perspectives in Education 

Subarea leader: Dr Louw de Beer

Secundus: Dr Ewelina Niemczyk


This subarea wants to explore and understand legal and comparative issues in the education field to address relevant foci in education.

The subarea aims to research, analyse and evaluate the application of:

  • human rights from a legal and comparative perspective in order to develop theory and improve geborgenheit in the basic and higher education systems;
  • the comparative method to evaluate and enhance educational aims and objectives of relevant countries;
  • legislation in education to expand the body of scholarship related to the professional security of educators in the workplace;
  • effective school governance and leadership in a developing democracy;
  • legal and theoretical perspectives on human rights in the preparation and training/development of teachers.


Social Justice in Education    

Subarea leader: Prof Johan Botha

Secundus: Dr Louise Postma


This subarea aims to explore and promote the realisation of social justice within (post-) conflict and diverse societies as it manifests in education.

The subarea aims to:

  • engage, explore and understand social justice and human rights theory as it manifests in social justice in education;
  • configure networks and structures in education which bring together different education role players to explore and promote social justice;
  • determine strategies to address human rights violations and social injustices that will translate into the realisation of social justice in diverse education contexts.


Social Justice, Religion and Spiritual Capital 

Subarea leader: Prof Ferdinand Potgieter

Secundus: Prof Charl Wolhuter

Social justice in education: religion, spiritual capital and human rights investigate, on the one hand, the extent to which religiously diverse societies display a-social dispositions and conduct, and to what extent such dispositions and conduct are reflected and/or inculcated, promoted and elicited in education-related praxis. On the other hand, it also investigates, from the standpoint of a personal, positive responsibility, the phenomena of spirituality as well as diversity and (in)tolerance in order to contribute to positive societal life.

The subarea aims to:

  • explore, investigate, identify and analyse theoretically, the nature and determinants that contribute to (in)tolerant religious practices and spirituality in education(al) settings;
  • explore, understand and explain possible theoretical solutions to the anticipated problem of religious (in)tolerance among people and within education systems;
  • explore, understand and explain possible theoretical solutions to the phenomenon of spirituality in teaching-learning environments and within education systems;
  • explore, understand and explain the role and place of social justice education as well as social capital with regard to religious (in)tolerance and spirituality practices in education(al) settings;
  • determine the extent of learners’, pre-service and in-service teachers’ ability to enhance a culture of spiritual capital and spirituality practices based on social justice in education and diverse educational contexts.


Public Schooling in Diversity 

Subarea leader: Prof Elda de Waal

Secundus: Dr Elize Küng


With Education and Human Rights in Diversity as the backdrop, Public Schooling in Diversity investigates specific legs of the octopus called “school” in legally strategic ways to advance successful public schooling. The most important aim is to signpost legally strategic action-oriented guidelines for creating purposeful, disciplined and safe/secure learning milieus that will allow teachers of diverse backgrounds to support learners of diverse backgrounds in developing into accountable and worthy citizens.


The subarea aims to:

  • embrace and advocate fundamental rights of the education partners;
  • study learner best interests and teacher rights to discover a sense of balance;
  • explore strategies to advance school and classroom security;
  • investigate religious, cultural and language Catch-22s at school level to help prevent human rights violations;
  • consider pathways towards education partner accountability for teachers, parents and learners to back democratic education principles;
  • investigate public law indicators to suggest a basic framework of legal aspects that are significant towards advancing successful public schooling;
  • analyse court cases to discover the legal standards required for establishing public schooling that acknowledges diversity. 


Discipline in Education Institutions 

Subarea leader: Prof Connie Zulu

Secundus: Dr Joyce Dhlamini


Discipline in Education Institutions aims to understand and determine the reasons for and the nature of misconduct in education institutions, including public schools and tertiary education institutions, in order to find suitable ways to govern it so that a positive climate conducive to orderly teaching and learning can be achieved.


The subarea aims to:

  • conduct cutting-edge research on issues of misconduct in education institutions from multiple perspectives:  learners, students, educators and parents, nationally and internationally;
  • contribute to social cohesion and transformation by providing guidelines for the development of policy and practice regarding misconduct in education institutions;
  • develop a repertoire of strategies for the governance of misconduct in schools and tertiary institutions;
  • establish national and international collaborative research networks for the purpose of advancing knowledge in the field of misconduct in education institutions.