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Prof Jace Pillay

Prof Jace Pillay
Department of Educational Psychology; South African Research Chair Education and Care in Childhood
Professor | South African​ Research Chair: Education and Care in Childhood

Contact Details
B Ring 415 / RS 204
+27 (0) 11 559 2273 / 5245
Auckland Park / Soweto

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South African Research Chair: Education and Care in Childhood, University of Johannesburg,​ South Africa

Personal Background: 

My undergraduate psychology studies at the University of Durban Westville made me realize that psychological intervention could be instrumental in benefiting the majority of people in the country who had been previously disadvantaged and disempowered. As such, I consciously decided to pursue a career as a psychologist. I subsequently accepted a post as the head of school psychological services in the government sector. It was in this position that I became exposed to the need for community psychology in a more practical way through the empowerment of communities to ensure their psychological well-being. At this stage in my life, I decided to instruct myself in community and educational psychology. I consequently embarked on reading a range of literature in these fields. Increasingly, I discovered that I was practically involved in community psychology and all that I needed in addition to this was to ground my engagement in appropriate theory.


  • B.A, Univ. of Durban Westville, 1986

  • UHDE, Univ. of Durban Westville, 1987

  • Honours (Psychology), Univ. of South Africa, 1991

  • MEd. (Ed. Psy), Univ. of Witwatersrand, 1993

  • Counselling Psychology, Rand Afrikaans University, 1995

  • DEd. (Ed. Psy.), Rand Afrikaans Univ., 1996

  • Dip. (Human Resources Management), Damelin School of Management, 1998

Professional experience

May 2010 to date, Professor, Faculty of Education, UJ, Department of Educational psychology

1 April 2007 to April 2010, Vice-Dean: Faculty of Education, UJ
1 June 2006, Professor, Head: Department of Educational Psychology, UJ

January 2005 to 31 May 2007, Head of Department of Educational Psychology; Associate Professor: UJ

August 2001 to December 2004, Associate Professor, Chair of Educational Psychology Programme Group in 2004, RAU
April 2001 to July 2001    National Director: Quality Learning Project, Joint Education Trust

2000, Head:  Education Auxiliary Services, Head: Teaching & Learning Services, Gauteng Department of Education

1996 – 2000: Head: Education Auxiliary Services, Gauteng Department of Education

1995 – 1996: Acting Head of Education Auxiliary Services, Gauteng Department of Education

1993 – 1995: School Psychologist, Ex. House of Delegates

1987 – 1993: Educator, School Counsellor, M.H. Joosub Technical Secondary School

Current research projects

  • Ecology of practice of life orientation teachers and school counsellors

  • HIV/Aids and Child-headed families

  • Children’s Rights

  • Childhood Education

  • Community educational psychology

  • Diversity Issues in teaching and learning

  • Anti-bias education and practices (racism, integration in schools)

Courses taught

Life Orientation A- Social and Community Development BEd (Senior Phase) 
Research Project BEd (Hons)
Values Studies BEd (Hons)
Theoretical Framework MEd (Ed. Psy)
Community & School Interventions MEd (Ed. Psy)
Psychopathology MEd (Ed. Psy
Supervision MEd (Ed.Psy)

Recent selected publications 

Pillay, J. Constructing community educational psychology in higher education institutions, International Journal on Learning. Vol.15 June 2008

Pillay, J. & Di Terlizzi, M. A case study of a learner’s transition from mainstream schooling to a school for learners with special educational needs (LSEN): lessons for mainstream education, South African Journal of Education Vol 29 (4), 2009 : 491 – 509

Dunbar-Krige, H, Pillay, J & Henning, E. Community psychology as social practice in high risk school settings, Education as Change Vol. 14 (3), December 2010

Pillay, J. & Ragpot, L. Violent schools in violent Gauteng: where the right to learn has to be defended, Education as Change Vol. 14 (3), December 2010

Pillay, J. & Ragpot, L. Myth or Manifesto: Difficulties in the implementation of the Manifesto on education, democracy and human rights, Educational Studies Vol. 9(2), December 2010

Pillay, J. A vulnerable school that makes a difference in the lives of children from child-headed households: Lessons for school psychologists, School Psychology International (Accepted for publication) Vol. 0(0) 1-19

Pillay, J. Challenges counselors face while practicing in South African schools: Implications for culturally relevant in-service training, South African Journal of Psychology (Accepted for publication) Vol. 41(3) 2011

Professional participation

Registered with the HPCSA as an Educational & Counselling Psychologist

Chair of the Counselling Division of PSYSSA from 2002 till 2006
Registered with SACE as an educator

Registered with the Educational Psychology Division of PSYSSA
Council member of PSYSSA

Chaired Board examinations for HPCSA (Professional Board for Psychology)

Conducted workshops for psychologists through PSYSSA
Appointed for 3 years to the SAQA Board by the Minister of Education, Mrs Naledi Pandor

I am a member of several Faculty committees, such as The Faculty Board,  Research Committee, and Higher Degrees Committee