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Personal profile

Area of academic expertise - outline

I am a qualitative researcher in social sciences and have particular expertise in Historical, Comparative, Phenomenological, Grounded Theory and Ethnographic research approaches/paradigms. Being new  as an academic in the UK, my research was entered into the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) and pre-assessed to be included in the forthcoming 2021 REF.

In my research, I adopt a number of theoretical perspectives:  (a) Critical Theory and Subaltern Discourses in historical and sociological spaces (Antonio Gramsci), (b), Phenomenological Approaches to the study of religion (Ninian Smart), (b) Post/Anti-Colonial Approaches to contemporary education in Africa (George Sefa Dei), (c) Critical Perspectives on Policy and Practice in Education (Stephen Ball), (d) Selective Tradition (Michael Apple) and (e) Realist Evaluation (Stephen Dugaid & Ray Pawson) and Risk Theory (Ulrich Beck).

I teach, research, publish, supervise postgraduate research (MEd/MSc/MA/MPhil and PhD) projects in any of the following areas:

  • Religious and Moral Education
  • Mental Health and Education
  • Sociology of Education
  • Education in Developing Countries
  • Comparative and International Education
  • Indigenous Studies and Education
  • Teacher Education and Professional Learning
  • Prison Education
  • Missiology/Church History (Seventh-day Adventist)
  • African History

I have examined a doctoral thesis on the topic: Subjective Experience of Living with Chronic Illness. I am the lead supervisor for two PhD students, secnd supervisor for four PhD and  assessor for nine PhD students. To date, I have successfully supervised to completion one PhD student. Current doctoral supervision (as lead supervisor) includes:Samson Oyerinde Oladejo on  The experiences of vulnerable young people and the problem of access to ‘free’ basic education in urban-poor areas of the city of Lagos, Nigeria; Hanane Belaidi on The linguistic repertoires of secondary school teachers in two Algerian regions (Kabyle and Chaoui): A Bourdieusian perspective; and as second supervisor: Laurence Gould-Johnson on  1+2 Language Policy in Scotland; Begonia Essan on Distance Education for In-Service Teachers in Ghana; Mojolaoluwa Opeyemi Alabi on Graduates’ Self-Directed Learning in Nigeria on the use of Diversified Strategies in Developing Income Generation Portfolio; Amina Abdessalam on Intercultural competence amongst study abroad students.

Prestige and Contribution

    • High quality published research:  entered into the UK’s prestigious Research Exercise Framework (REF) in 2014 and being considered to be entered again in the next REF in 2021.

    • Quality teaching and student support across academic programmes both undergraduate and postgraduate, including doctoral research.

    • Effective execution of the role of Postgraduate Research Coordinator in the School of Education.

    • Key contribution to a research culture in the School of Education by initiating and coordinating joint monthly research colloquium for Postgraduate Research Student and academic staff.

    • Development and management of a niche postgraduate programme: MSc Mental Health and Education

    • Development and management of one of the core undergraduate modules (Society and Lifestyles) on the very successful BA Education programme.

    • Deputising the Assistant Dean (Research, Enterprise and International) at the university’s Research Enterprise Advisory Committee (REAC)

    • Core member of UWS’ Doctoral College Board

    • University-wide contribution as Judge at the UWS annual Learning, Teaching and Research Conference

    • Academic link for visiting research fellows in the School of Education since 2014

    • Internationally recognised expert in school-based Religious Education

    • Deputy editor, British Journal of Religious Education, flagship journal in the field

    • Lead editor (under-contract) The Handbook of Religious Education in the Global South

    • Guest Editor Special Issue: Journal, Diaspora, Indigenous and Minority Education (DIME)

    • Consulting editor, Journal of Psychology & Education (Ghana)

    • Membership of editorial boards: British Journal of Religious Education, International Higher Education Teaching and Learning  and Malawi Journal of Education & Development

    • Peer-reviewer for 11 international academic journals

    • Chairperson, Further and higher Education, Scotland-Malawi Partnership - a civil organisation

    • PhD supervision - and to completion

    • Viva examination of PhD students

    • Research collaboration and grant application experience

    • Chairing PhD vivas

    • Chairing international conference sessions

    • Erasmus scholar, Malta (2017) and Greece (2019)

    • Invited guest speaker: Inaugural Frederick Ofosu lecture in Malta attended by the state president (2017)

    • Invited panellist:  NSC Essentials - Collaborating with Other Scholars, 2019 CIES Conference, San Francisco, USA.

    • Member: ‘Research Strategy for Scottish Education Academic Reference Group’ (Scottish Government)

    • Membership of prestigious scholarly organisations such as the Royal Historical Society (RHS), Comparative and International Education Society (CIES)  and Association of University Lecturers in Religious Education (AULRE)

    • Member (by invitation) of the International Seminar on Religious Education and Values (ISREV)


PhD/Doctoral Supervision: Current Students

Role: Lead Supervisor  

  1. Samson Oyerinde Oladejo: “Walking in their shoes”: A critical analysis of the experiences of vulnerable young people and the problem of access to ‘free’ basic education in urban-poor areas of the city of Lagos, Nigeria(Immigration Status: Nigerian  Tier 4 – Non-EU)
  2. Hanane Belaidi: The linguistic repertoires of secondary school teachers in two Algerian regions (Kabyle and Chaoui): A Bourdieusian perspective (Immigration Status: Algerian – Tier 4 – Non-EU)


Role: Second Supervisor

  1. Laurence Gould-Johnson: 1+2 Language Policy in Scotland (Immigration Status: French/Scottish)
  2. Begonia Essan: Distance Education for In-Service Teachers in Ghana (Immigration Status: Ghanaian – Tier 4 – Non-EU)
  3. Mojolaoluwa Opeyemi Alabi:  Graduates’ Self-Directed Learning in Nigeria on the use of Diversified Strategies in Developing their Income Generation Portfolio (Immigration Status: Nigerian – Tier 4 – Non-EU)
  4. Amina Abdessalam: Intercultural competence amongst study abroad students (Immigration Status: Tier 4 – Non-EU)


Role: Assessor

  1. Ioannis Makris: title – Technology education (Greek - EU)
  2. Fekih Miloud: Dyslexia within the ESL context (Algerian)
  3. Laura Wilson: Internationalisation of Higher Education: From the perspective of the educator (Australian/Scottish)
  4. Nawel Mansouri: The use of a weblog storytelling to develop creative writing among Algerian EFL students (Algerian)
  5. Nawal Ouchene: Investigation of Cultural Aspects in Algeria Secondary School Textbook “New Prospects (Algerian)
  6. Nassima Ferhaten -  title: tbc  (Immigration Status: Tier 4 – Non-EU)
  7. Kazi Nabila – title tbc (Immigration Status: Tier 4 – Non-EU)
  8. Meriem Abid – title tbc (Immigration Status: Tier 4 – Non-EU)
  9. Shaddai Tembo – title tbc local student on UWS studentship

Current research activities

  1. Book project (by contract with Bloomsbury): The Bloomsbury Handbook of Religious Education in the Global South (with a co-author from the USA) (2018-2021)
  2. Article: Prison educators: Who teaches in prison and why? (2019-2021)
  3. Article: Interdisciplinarity and religious education: a helpful or destructive relationship? (2019-2020)
  4. Possible book project (Routledge) with a colleague from Ghana: Misclusion of Religion in Religious Education in Malawi and Ghana (2018-2021)
  5. Book: Marvelous Malamulo Mission: A Historical Study, 1902-2002 (2019-2022)
  6. Book: Christians of the Commandments: A Socio-Historical Study of Seventh-Adventism in Malawi (2019-2025)
  7. Book: BaKgatla ba ga Mmanaana of Botswana: A Political History, c.1600-1940 (2019-2025)

Area of academic expertise - outline

I have expertise in the following areas: (a) Education in Comparative Contexts, (b) Education in Developing Countries, (c) Prision Education (d) Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, (d) Post-modern approaches to school-based Religious Education, (e) African/Church History, (f) Mental Health and Education, (g) Post/Anti Colonial Critiques of Education, (h) Indegenous Education and (i) Theology, Missiological and Pastoral Studies

Desired research direction

Grant application: (a) "Improving Quality of Higher Education in Malawi in the Context of UK NARIC Assessment" - Scottish Goverment Malawi Grant and (b) "Who teaches in Prison,  Why and What Qualifies them: Towards the Professionalisation of Prison Education in Scotland - A GTCS Aspiration

Develop research links with scholars from USA (California), Africa (Malawi, Botswana, Kenya, Ghana) and across the UK (Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland) towards bidding for a major funded project evaluating the effectiveness of prison education in comparative contexts.

Through my research engender a paradigm shift towards the professionalisation of prison education through the creation of a new qualification pathway in teacher education (professional graduate diploma in education in prison studies) recognised by the General Teaching Council for Scotlsnd (GTCS).

Continue to research on religion and education in the UK (Scotland) and Africa (Malawi).

Continue to attract PhD students in the areas of distance education, teacher education, curriculum reform, religious education, indigenous studies, higher education and prison education.

Target collaborative organisations

Scottish Prison Service

Schools in Scotland

Universities in sub-Saharan Africa

Third sector providers of prison education in the UK

California Correctional Department and other international Prison Services (Malawi, Botswana, Kenya and Ghana)

External positions

External research/postgraduate supervisor for Adventist Universality of Africa

2015 → …


  • BL Religion
  • L Education (General)
  • H Social Sciences (General)

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Research Output 1997 2019

Religious teaching and learning across diverse cultural settings and contexts

Matemba, Y. H. 14 Apr 2019 3 p.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

religious education

Inclusive education for learners with albinism: Malawi, Zambia and Botswana

Dart, G., Matemba, Y. H. & Gunnell, J. 13 Dec 2018 Education and Disability in the Global South: New Perspectives from Africa and Asia . Singal, N., Lynch, P. & Johansson, S. T. (eds.). London: Bloomsbury Publishing plc

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Religious (and Moral) Education in Primary Schools

Matemba, Y. 1 Jul 2018 Scottish Education. Bryce, T. G. K., Humes, W. M., Gillies, D. & Kennedy, A. (eds.). 5 ed. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Primary School
Religious Education
Moral Education
religious education


Religious Studies

Activities 2005 2019

NSC Essentials - Collaborating with Other Scholars

Matemba, Y. (Examiner)
Apr 2019 → …

Activity: Types of External academic engagement - Research and Teaching at External Organisation

British Journal of Religious Education (Journal)

Matemba, Y. (Editor)
Jan 2019 → …

Activity: Editorial activity

Research Strategy for Scottish Education Academic Reference Group

Matemba, Y. (Examiner)
2018 → …

Activity: Types of Public engagement and outreach - Work on advisory panels for social community and cultural engagement

American journal of Qualitative Research (Journal)

Matemba, Y. (Peer reviewer)
Jul 2018 → …

Activity: Editorial activity


Hanane Belaidi

Ioannis Makris

Nawel Mansouri


Nawal Ouchene

Iyekeretin Sule