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Special Relations: The University of London and the University College of the West Indies

Citation: Clover, David (2012) Special Relations: The University of London and the University College of the West Indies. In: Society for Caribbean Studies (UK) Annual Conference (2012), 4-6 July, 2012, Rewley House and Kellogg College, University of Oxford. (Unpublished)

On 13th July 1943, in the midst of war, Mr Oliver Stanley, Secretary of State for the Colonies, announced that he was setting up a commission to enquire into higher education in the territories for which he was responsible. The commission of enquiry, chaired by Sir Cyril Asquith, clearly stated its aim of eventual full independent status for existing and new institutions, and for an interim period advised adapting the University of London external degree programme, alongside a system of colonial university colleges, based on three key principles – that the conduct of examinations should approximate as closely as possible the procedures associated with the internal colleges of the University of London; that the staffs of the colonial colleges should participate in the examination of their students, in a “genuine partnership between the external examiners appointed by the University of London and the members of the Colonial staffs”; and that the syllabuses for examinations “should as far as possible be adjusted to the geographical and other conditions of the Colonial colleges”. Between 1947 and 1970 the University of London assisted eight institutions in Africa and the Caribbean to become independent universities. In an enterprise as unique in character as in magnitude the University’s partners were fully autonomous, with an intention to pave the way for full independence with high academic standards entitling them to respect in the international academic community. This paper will examine the background to and the early years of the relationship between the University of London and the University College of the West Indies. The paper draws largely upon University of London’s archives and records of the relationship and will concentrate on the British and University of London histories and perspectives.

Creators: Clover, David and
Subjects: History
Keywords: education, Caribbean, University of London, University College of the West Indies
Divisions: Institute of Commonwealth Studies
Senate House Library
  • 4 July 2012 (completed)


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