JME Trust Research Scholarship


Over the next few years the Journal of Moral Education Trust aims to offer scholars an opportunity to further their research in areas germane to developing our understanding of moral education.

Applications for the first of these were invited and received by the end of 2014. The JME Trustees are pleased to announce that the recipient of this award is Dr Sharlene Schwartz. Here are the details of her project:

MORALISE MORAL-EYES Coming to see personal privilege and positionalities in
                                             diverse issues of social justice in four African countries

Research problem: This study addresses the need for young people, especially those in a university context, to identify and address pressing, yet frequently overlooked, moral issues in their society. These issues include racial inequality in South Africa, gender and sexual orientation discrimination in Cameroon including violence against sexual minorities; ethnic and religious conflict in Nigeria; and the results of ethnic conflict and genocide in Sierra Leone. It offers students (and has the potential to serve as a model for moral education in other contexts) the opportunity to see afresh the results of injustice and develop ways to address these injustices through an examination of privilege, their own locatedness in injustice and how things might be ‘made right’.

Theoretical framework: This study develops a conceptual-contextual understanding that combines geo-location with the principle of ‘recognition and restitution’ to inform and promote social justice through moral education. Such a theory of change presupposes that those living in contexts of injustice need to purposefully locate themselves, identify their privilege (or oppression) and understand the effects of injustice if they are to be encouraged to make things right or make restitution for these injustices as necessary moral action.

Study objectives: This proposal describes a study with multiple but interrelated objectives. First, it investigates the notion of privilege and personal location with regards to injustice about which moral action is needed. Second, it provides a model for interactive, participatory and emancipatory moral education through adopting a ‘research as intervention’ approach. Third, it does so in four African countries in order to widen the geographical scope of current moral education research and introduce new graduate students and their intellectual communities to the field.

Research question: How do university students in four African countries, understand the notion of privilege, locate themselves with regard to past or current injustices, and respond to the notion of ‘making restitution’ as an appropriate response to injustice?

Research methodology: Includes three activities - a reflexive assignment on privilege set for university students at four African Universities; an in-depth, semi– structured qualitative interview with these students; and a participatory activity that involves choosing labels to describe one’s own location in (in)justice and a response to a vignette about dealing with the past contextualised for each country.

Time schedule: The study was conducted  2015-16 prior to dissemination of research results.

Outputs: An open access research monograph, an academic paper, and a conference symposium.


If there are new opportunities for JMET Scholarships, details will be posted on this website and widely circulated


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