Towards Enacting Social Justice in HE:

A Case of Postdoctoral Research Fellows

  • Zvisinei Moyo University of Johannesburg
  • Juliet Perumal University of Johannesburg


The purpose of this review was to unearth the challenges of postdoctoral research fellows who are classified neither as staff nor students. It provokes research to rethink measures to support this group of academics who have been neglected. Three central questions guided this review: What are the common themes in literature and research on PRDF? What social justice issues arise from the PDRF literature? How can this literature and conceptualisation inform management of PDRFs in terms of social justice? A total of 45 publications were reviewed. The full text of the systematically identified studies were stored in a marked folder on a computer desktop and screened through examining topics and abstracts. Each of the studies was analysed to come up with six themes which were discussed through the lens of social justice, followed by a suggestion for further discussion in the field. The literature portrays a culture that has undermined issues and concerns of social justice. Universities are required to imagine new directions for future research, challenged to become activists and take a pro-justice stance to transform the culture, practices and procedures to benefit the marginalised. Universities can utilise these suggestions as a guide to evaluate their efforts and programmes.    

Author Biographies

Zvisinei Moyo, University of Johannesburg

Zvisinei Moyo obtained her Doctor of Education in Education Management at the University of South Africa. Her strongest intellectual influences and academic interests lie in the field of education leadership and management. Meanwhile, her growing awareness of the dearth of research into women leading education was what led her to pursue research in this field. She has increasingly found herself drawn to academic endeavours investigating female leadership and management in education, social justice and gender issues.

Juliet Perumal, University of Johannesburg

Juliet Perumal graduated with a PhD in Education from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. She holds a Bachelor of Pedagogics (Arts) from the University of Durban-Westville, Honours in Education from the University of South Africa, and a Master’s in Education (specialising in Language and Literature) from the University of Cape Town. She is currently Professor in the Department of Education Studies at the University of Johannesburg and Faculty Vice Dean: Research and Internationalisation.

How to Cite
Moyo, Z., & Perumal, J. (2020). Towards Enacting Social Justice in HE: . International Journal of African Higher Education, 6(1), 77-96.