The proposed project aims to understand how secondary school learners' knowledge and experiences of justice act as drivers for the Sustainable Development Goals. Specifically, it examines three types of justice in education and how they relate to learners' intended actions with respect to SDG 13 (climate action) and SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions):
- Environmental justice, which seeks to balance human and environmental rights in order that both might exist sustainably, recognising the unfair distribution of the effects of climate change.
- Epistemic justice, which values different knowledges and the peoples who hold them, working against the exclusion of multiple ways of understanding the world; and
- Transitional justice, which repairs wrongs of the past, acknowledging the importance of responsibility and reconciliation for possibilities of future peacebuilding.
By focusing on these forms of justice and the relationships between them, we extend and challenge traditional conceptions of justice in education, which are mainly rooted in social and distributional understandings of justice. The project will focus on both "education for justice" and "education as justice." The first focus requires an examination of how different forms of justice are taught across educational curricula, while the second looks at how social practice in schools and classrooms reflect and embody (or do not) these different forms of justice.
Our study is undertaken in secondary schools in three global contexts where these forms of justice are particularly relevant: Western Nepal, Andean Peru and Northern Uganda. These research contexts all have recent experience with conflict, are directly reliant on the natural environment and subsistence agriculture, and are ethnically diverse societies with multiple linguistic communities.
The study involves three phases which combine quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis. The first phase of the project involves qualitative data collection through ethnographic work in schools, including interviews and participative arts-based focus group discussions in which learners draw images that illustrate their experiences with environmental, epistemic and transitional justice. This phase also includes an analysis of education policy documents, curricula, and related documents such as textbooks and examinations.
In the second phase of the project, analysis of qualitative data is used to create a questionnaire that is administered to learners on tablet computers. The questionnaire measures learners' curriculum knowledge relating to these forms of justice and SDG 13 and 16; their experiences of justice at school; their attitudes to towards justice expressed through responses to scenarios presented in short videos and images, and their intended actions and behaviours in relation to SDG 13 and 16. It will result in a quantitative dataset with approximately 6,000 responses, which will be analyzed through structural equation modelling.
The third phase of the project consists of a synthesis of these two components and the development of an analytical framework to articulate what transitional, epistemic and environmental justice would look like in a secondary education system.
While outcomes will be communicated to academic audiences through conference presentations and peer-reviewed publications, the project will achieve a broader impact on educational policy and practice through a series of targeted policy briefs and stakeholder impact events at both the regional and international level. Working with other GCRF-funded projects in the contexts of study, the project will also engage in knowledge exchange to synthesize findings and increase impact.