Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Religious/Theological Education Comparative and International Education Education in Developing Countries Post/Anti-colonial Critiques of Education Indigenous Education Distance Education Mental Health and Education

Willing to speak to media


Research output per year

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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. Vijayita Prajapati: Utopian /Intentional Communities & Future of Lifelong Learning
  2. Nor Ehouda Zenati: Lobbying and Pressure Groups: A comparative study of Algeria and Scotland
  3. Mehdjouba Ghezali: Teachers and teaching in Algerian prisons: An exploratory study
  4. Samson Oyerinde Oladejo:  Free but Unattainable: A Risk Society Analysis of Young People in Urban Poor Areas and Issues of Access to Universal Basic Education (UBE) in Lagos, Nigeria
  5. Hanane Belaidi: The Linguistic Repertoires of Algerian Secondary School Teachers: A Bourdieusian Perspective  

Role: Second Supervisor

  1. Tamara Horsburgh: The Impact of Holding the Christian Theology of Embodiment for Christian Believers Diagnosed with the Onset of Dementia: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
  2. Laurence Giraud-Johnstone: 1+2 Language Policy in Scotland
  3. Mojolaoluwa Opeyemi Alabi: Technical and vocational education in Nigeria
  4. Amina Abdessalam: Intercultural competence amongst study abroad students

Role: Assessor

  1. Ioannis Makris: 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)

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Research Output

  • Gazing back and moving forward

    Matemba, Y., 18 Feb 2020, In : British Journal of Religious Education. 42, 2, p. 115-119 5 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

    An island, entire of itself

    Stern, J., Matemba, Y. & Lundie, D., 3 Jul 2019, In : British Journal of Religious Education. 41, 3, p. 243-246 4 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

    1 Citation (Scopus)
    Open Access
  • 15 Downloads (Pure)


  • Activities

    British Journal of Religious Education (Journal)

    Yonah Matemba (Editor)

    Jan 2019 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial activity

    Diaspora, Indigenous, and Minority Education: Studies of Migration, Integration, Equity, and Cultural Survival (Journal)

    Yonah Matemba (Guest editor)

    Nov 2019

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial activity

    Panellist (Invited)

    Yonah Matemba (Examiner)

    14 Apr 201918 Apr 2019

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

    NSC Essentials - Collaborating with Other Scholars

    Yonah Matemba (Examiner)

    Apr 2019 → …

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

    Journal of Psychology & Education (Journal)

    Yonah Matemba (Editor)

    Aug 2018Aug 2021

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial activity