Caribbean Economy

Introducing Economics and Social Sciences to U.W.I. – 1955 to 1962: The Influence of Sir Arthur Lewis

Wilberne H. Persaud, Department of Economics UWI, Mona, July 04, 2004

Great Britain’s 'Gift' – Tertiary Education for the British West Indies

“On 1 February, 1947 Thomas Taylor opened the first office of the University College of the West Indies [U.C.W.I.] at 62 Lady Musgrave Road in Kingston. The house had been the home of the leading West Indian journalist of his time, a strong opponent of those who advocated the establishment of a university in Jamaica.”[1] The College had been provided upon recommendation to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Oliver Stanley, as a ‘gift to the people of the West Indies by the Imperial Government’. That these facts present an interesting irony is evident.

More significantly this act of generosity, delayed for centuries, represented implementation of a decision on the part of the British government that appears to have been a relatively abrupt break with the past. Indeed, prior to this development, stretching over the previous two hundred years, there had been several independent local initiatives aimed at introducing tertiary education in the British West Indies – none attracted support of Colonial Governors or the Imperial Government.[2]

As Lord Moyne noted, “efforts … to establish … institutions of university rank in the West Indies, … in spite of a frequently expressed feeling that this lack should be remedied … have come to nothing.”[3] Nevertheless, the colonial West Indian’s commitment to education was legendary. The West Indian working man or peasant woman had to perform tremendous feats of sacrifice to provide an education for the next generation. Sherlock and Nettleford illustrate this with the following:

“Any West Indian knows of peasant market women like the bone-thin elderly woman in the Duncans market in Trelawny, who, week after week, year after year, out of her meager earnings sent her son Amos Foster to Scotland as a medical student and kept him there until he qualified and returned home …”[4]

This was the surest way to climb out of the individual poverty trap. As Arthur Lewis points out in an autobiographical sketch, even the professions, really the only avenue of upward mobility for West Indians during that period, held major obstacles for locals: “I wanted to be an engineer, but neither the colonial government nor the sugar plantations would hire a black engineer, [effectively] law, medicine, preaching, and teaching were the only professions open to young blacks in my day.”[5]

Alternative pathways to social and economic mobility were either hazardous in the extreme or nonexistent. Becoming ‘Afro-Saxon’ required a level of cultural assimilation which sadly, or fortuitously happily, depending on one’s point of view, was unavailable to the majority of the population. In this context introducing tertiary education to the British West Indies in the mid 20th century therefore had immense potential for improving conditions within the society. It had the germ in it of both individual and societal material/economic as well as cultural/national upliftment.

We should not leave this brief depiction of context however, without adverting to the colonial experience of Spanish America and British North America. This late coming of Tertiary education to the British West Indian colonies is to be contrasted with the fact that: “In the half century that followed her settlement of Hispaniola (1500-1551) Spain founded the universities of Santo Domingo, Mexico and Lima …. She founded five others in the seventeenth century, and another ten in the eighteenth century.”[6

In British North America the Pilgrim Fathers founded Harvard a mere 16 years after they landed at Plymouth. These differences are stark, reflecting contrasts in approach chosen to achieve the objectives of rival European colonial enterprise, as well as that of colonies of settlement as opposed to colonies of exploitation.[7]

The Irvine Committee – Gift, Obligation, Self-interest?

In January of 1944, Secretary of State for the Colonies Oliver Stanley appointed the West Indies Committee of the Commission on Higher Education in the Colonies, under the Chairmanship of Sir James Irvine.[8] In the aftermath of World War II, preceded in the West Indies by disturbances occurring during the period 1934 to 1938 and the subsequent Moyne Commission Report, there was a relatively clear understanding that the Imperial regime could no longer operate as it did in the past. Strategic decisions were obviously taken to begin the process of weaning the colonies from the mother country.

The need for leadership and groups of professionals would become acute; places at UK universities would be insufficient to accommodate undergraduates from the colonies. A quote from Parker, who researched the development of higher education in the West Indies (Puerto Rico and the British West Indies), lays out this conclusion and even if some of his ideas may be subject to debate, or rather contest, they are worthy of consideration:

“The University College envisioned by the Irvine Committee and the Asquith Commission was initially to be more British than West Indian in character. One can argue through hindsight against a strategy chosen for creating a university in the tropics on a British model but in the climate of the times what was being offered to the West Indies was what the imperial power knew best, its own high-standard elitist concept of higher education. The British were, in a sense, giving to the West Indies and peoples of African and Asian colonies a university model of world respect. The British were taking a generous action in favouring their subject people with the best they had to offer. In another respect, however, the new colonial universities were a practical and expedient means to an end to British colonial control and responsibility. Regardless of the reasons, the people of the West Indies in 1946 were to have at last a university which eventually could be moulded and shaped to meet the developmental needs of the region. Without the concern and efforts of the Colonial Office and the planning of the Irvine Committee and the Asquith Commission, the old dream of a West Indian university could not be a new reality.”[9]

Parker hits the nail roundly on the head in at least one respect that needs to be highlighted and expanded. At the end of the war, places at UK universities could no longer be guaranteed to the British West Indian population. This, regardless of the fact that numbers would continue to be small since only a miniscule cohort of the population could afford the cost and scholarships would remain few.

More importantly, the existing places would be needed to accommodate the backlog of British students following cessation of hostilities and a return to normality in Britain. An acute need was for professionals in the medical field, accounting for the fact that the medical school at the U.C.W.I. was the first order of business.

For completeness, Parker’s notion of the British “taking a generous action in favouring their subject people” with the best Britain had to offer—the gift—should be contested. For in taking the decision to provide higher education in the colonies, including the British West Indies, the Imperial power was not abruptly and finally, having a horrific burst of bad conscience. It is this seemingly abrupt break with the past that cries out for explanation.

Carr-Saunders review of the development of facilities for higher education in the colonies up to 1945 “… revealed [no] evidence of any official interest in Great Britain in these developments until 1936 when the De La Warr Commission was appointed”.[10] In fact there were only two occasions, separated by almost a century of often turbulent colonial history,

“… on which an initiative coming from Great Britain was directed to the foundation of universities in a dependent territory under the British Crown”—the first was a “… dispatch written by Sir Charles Wood in 1854 on behalf of the directors of the East India Company and addressed to the Governor-General of India in Council”, [the second occurred when in accord with] … recommendations of the Commission on Higher Education in the Colonies which reported in 1945 — the Asquith Commission after its Chairman Lord Justice Asquith — a programme was put into operation for the development of university education in those British territories which had dependent status at that date.”[11]

Carr-Saunders provides plausible and interesting explanations at the individual, if not systemic level, for centuries of Official neglect. He also betrays the contempt, with respect to matters intellectual, in which he held British Colonial Office officials — a contempt in these matters thoroughly shared by Eric Williams. He points out that British Officials

“… displayed very little sympathy with local aspirations for university education. They had usually graduated at one of the older universities from which they carried away agreeable memories rather than professional accomplishments or enduring intellectual interests. They had little understanding of the part played in the modern world by universities and the importance of the professions for which universities are a preparation, and to them the idea of transplanting to the regions where they worked the only type of university known to them doubtless seemed fantastic. Between British officials with this background and the young and ambitious local intellectual elite there was little or nothing in common; certain virtues, probity, justice and devotion to duty, were widely exhibited by the former, but understanding of, and sympathy with, the student class were not among them. Moreover in Africa and also in Malaya British officials put their trust in the traditional social structure as exemplified in the policy of indirect rule. But the intellectual elite was in revolt against these traditional forms; in consequence the officials, regarding themselves as responsible for the simpler elements which made up most of the population of which the student class were not representative, came to think of this class as their opponents, if not actually subversive. This is what lies behind the remarks of Lord Lugard when he said in 1920 that ‘it is a cardinal principle of British colonial policy that the interest of a large native population shall not be subject to the will of a small class of educated and Europeanized natives who have nothing in common with them and whose interests are often opposed to theirs’. The same applies to Sir Hugh Clifford’s views when he said that ‘it can only be described as farcical to suppose that … continental Nigeria can be represented by a handful of gentlemen drawn from a half dozen Coast tribes — men born and bred in British administered towns situated on the seashore — who in the safety of British protection have peacefully pursued their studies under British teachers.”[12]

For us today it may be alluring to grasp the classic irony of Lugard’s and Clifford’s view of subjecting a ‘large native population’ to the will of a small group of ‘educated and Europeanized natives’ as the true manifestation of farce — akin to thousands of West Indian kindergarten children standing by the roadside, in the broiling hot sun on Empire Day singing ‘Britons, Britons never, never, shall be slaves!'

We may excuse the children, but Lugard and Clifford were far removed from the kindergarten, they were products of the ancient universities, men of the world. Thus Carr-Saunders explanation does not suffice simply because its underlying reasoning emerges from the individual and not the systemic level.

Apart from the changed circumstances at the end of World War II and the clear pressure of expediency, at least two other subsidiary, yet important impulses added urgency to the need for provision of higher education in the West Indian Colonies. First, the mass of the West Indian population took to violent protest, seemingly having had enough of quietly accepting their resultant condition of colonial exploitation. In Trinidad and Tobago (1934), St. Kitts (1935), Barbados (1937), Jamaica (1938) sugar workers erupted. In 1937 as well, Trinidad and Tobago’s oil field workers took their turn at rioting.

These ‘riots’ led to the Moyne Commission Report which highlighted to British ‘officialdom’ and beyond, the widespread wretchedness of the condition of the region’s working classes, including the appalling state of education in general — although not advocating creation of an institution of tertiary rank.[13] The negative consequences of Colonial exploitation, the impact of the great depression, the indefensible position championing democracy, fighting fascism in Europe while colonial Governors ruled single-handedly or with the help of a small oligharchic planter class in manifest conditions of deprivation — malnutrition, widespread prevalence of preventable diseases, housing conditions unfit for humans and wages inadequate for basic nutrition — all came together to present Britain with an utterly untenable situation.[14]

The second discernible impulse was a conscious decision by Britain’s ‘Official Classes’ to shore up the image of Empire and ‘Trusteeship’ — an image which had taken a beating for some time.[15]

Arthur Lewis in an exposition to the Manchester Statistical Society suggested that at a more general level, among the reasons for the new emphasis on colonial development on Britain’s agenda was the fact that there was a view held by some in Britain, the internationalists he called them, who, “seeing in colonies a source of friction and ill-will, suspect that peace might be a little more secure if colonial status could be liquidated”; in this context Lewis also discussed racism as an impediment to development in the colonies.[16]

As a matter of record however, there was indeed in Britain at the time, a general and ongoing reconsideration of colonial status—changed circumstances actually meant that the ‘Sun which never set on the British Empire’, had finally begun to appear as if in a ‘westward arc’.

Colonial populations, having been systematically denied all forms of self governance, could not then simply be abandoned to their own devices. Nor could they be left as the charges of the individual commercial companies which might be interested in their labour, plantations or raw materials—it was already clearly demonstrated that such would be a recipe for unending turbulence.[17]

Hugh Springer, himself a member of the Irvine Committee put it differently. He argued that the devastation occasioned by the great depression was “… the midwife who ministered at the birth of the West Indian nation. It also combined with other events to bring the thinking of the British government to the point where liquidation of the Empire was no longer a matter of ultimate aim but one of immediate policy. And universities came in consequence to be regarded as necessary both by aspiring nationalists and the responsible imperialist”.[18]

Was Irvine to take on the role of ‘responsible imperialist’?

The Irvine report, in a sense clinical, with little analysis or comment on the genesis and impact of the ‘history’ they cite and the resultant ‘colonial education policy’ on the people of the West Indies — a task admittedly not in their remit—points out that: “… the history, racial composition and geographical dispersion of the West Indies have been unfavourable to the development of higher education. During the greater part of their history, higher education of any kind has been almost the monopoly of the small, white, ruling minorities which, in so far as they sought it for their children, found it ‘at home’, in Britain.”[19]

In this context, it seems necessary to point out however, that whereas geographical dispersion should reasonably be expected to add to the cost—a major element of their reasoning — of providing higher education, how ‘racial composition’ as a unique element in and of itself, could be unfavourable, independent of the influence of ‘their history’ is difficult to envisage. At the time of their investigation there were two institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth Caribbean, Codrington College in Barbados and the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture (I.C.T.A.) in Trinidad.[20]

Irvine found that: “Most of those seeking higher education seek it abroad, either at their own expense or with the help of scholarships. There is fierce competition for the very few scholarships available. An increasing number of pupils work at school for the Higher School Certificate or the University of London Intermediate Examination. Others read alone, often while holding full-time appointments, for London external degree.

In 1943, there were thus some 109 West Indians in British Universities and 250 in those of North America. About 1,200 pupils were qualified in that year through Higher School Certificate and School Certificate examinations to proceed to higher education, while in the past ten years 610 students have sat for London external degrees.”[21]

Evidently, there was a reservoir both of the young and not so young, who would benefit from higher education and as well, provide the professional cadre required in the changed circumstances the Colonial Office now confronted. But additionally, there was a common thread deeply embedded in the enterprise as Irvine saw it. There was to be an effort to create a “West Indian” graduate, seized of the historical provenance and cultural background, aware of and responsive to the extant local conditions of the region.[22]

Thus Irvine unanimously recommended “... Establishment of a single University of the West Indies at the earliest possible date. The first step should be the foundation of a University College which, in order to establish its academic standards and win public confidence and esteem should work for the most part for the external degrees of a University of repute.”[23] The college would teach basic subjects for degrees in Arts and Science, include a Faculty of Medicine and provide the centre for “a department of extra-mural studies through which its influence would be projected into all the West Indian colonies.”[24] Provision should be made for financing students both by loan funding and scholarships.

Irvine insisted on two provisions they considered non-negotiable for effective higher education in the region. Unanimously they were “... not prepared to recommend the foundation of a University ... [unless it was to be] ... a single centralized institution ... [and with] ... almost universal agreement among witnesses ... it should be entirely residential.”[25] They put the case for a single university emphatically: “So strongly do we all feel upon this point that our recommendation is for one university or no university.”

But there was a third provision, the capital cost of the institution as well as its recurrent expenditure, Irvine opined, should be a gift to the people of the West Indies by the Imperial Government — some, then as now, may have preferred it described as partial settlement of a debt obligation. That there could be any question of the local treasury finding the funds, was never at issue. So ultimately, was Parker’s view correct?

Introducing Economics

Irvine’s recommendations on the content of teaching and instruction were formulated in terms of subjects based on the commissioners’ own experience and to a much lesser degree, on the opinions of witnesses who urged particular areas of endeavour essential to filling existing gaps in what they considered to be areas of required professional expertise. Irvine suggested seven Faculties: Arts, Science, Medicine, Law, Technology, Education and Theology. Economics was to be taught in the Faculty of Arts. The embryo for later creation of a Faculty of Social Sciences was embedded here. Professors of both Economics and Political Science were to be appointed.

More significantly as a precursor to creation of a Department of Economics, the Colonial Social Science Research Council of the UK, in 1949, committed both capital and recurrent funds to create the Institute of Social and Economic Research (I.S.E.R.) at the U.C.W.I.[26] Among some of its pioneering work would of course be studies of the economies of the various colonies of the region. Economists at the I.S.E.R. included both visiting scholars and those on contract to the institution. A Department of Economics was created in the Faculty of Arts in 1955. The extant thinking of the College envisaged integration of I.S.E.R. and the new Department, with teaching for the B.Sc. Honours in Economics projected to commence in 1959.[27]

Although some of the documents on the earliest discussions of these issues have reportedly been lost to hurricane damage, there is a report that two years after creation of the Department, the Principal at a meeting of Finance and General Purposes Committee of December 18, 1957 requested advice in connection with the Chair in Economics. The Selection Board for this Chair would be two members of Council: Messrs. N.N. Nethersole and P.M. Sherlock. Reference is also made to submissions from D.J. Morgan, Head of the Department of Economics requesting funds for equipment.[28] The Department of Economics had been created in the Faculty of Arts September 1st 1955 and began teaching for a B.A. (General) with the intention of offering the B.Sc. (Econ.) thereby providing the institutional foundation stone for what would become a dynamic focal point in the quest for Caribbean Development.


The Department of Economics in the Faculty of Arts

The Principal in 1952, at a conference of Government representatives of the Colonies served by the University, had suggested the need for extending the number of subjects the College offered. Economics was one of those specifically approved by the conference. A Senate Committee on the Institute of Social and Economic Research and the Teaching of Economics was established in academic year 1953/54.[29] Their terms of reference indicate the concerns of Senate: “To make recommendations to the Senate on (1) the integration with the College of the Institute of Social and Economic Research; (2) arrangements for the teaching of Economics in the College; (3) other relevant matters.”[30]

The actual relationship at the time, of the I.S.E.R. to the College, was something of an anomaly. If Senate harboured anxiety, as we shall see presently, their Committee dealt with that part of the issue in one fell sentence! On 29th April 1954 they made two recommendations. First, the Institute would be regarded as “having the status of a department of the College except that the source of its finance is different from that of other departments, namely, a scheme under the Colonial Development and Welfare Acts.”[31]

Secondly they concluded that a Chair of Economics not be established but instead “… a Department should be established to which lecturers should be appointed to teach Economics under the Director of the Institute. The Committee recommend that ultimately three lecturers should be appointed. It is not envisaged that teaching will begin before October 1955, but it is recommended that one lecturer, of Senior Lecturer status if possible, should be appointed as soon as possible.”[32]

Note here that the kind of certainty one might be led to infer from the assertive tone of the Senate Committee’s report is entirely unwarranted. Their recommendations, seemingly studied, considered and thoroughly adjudicated, were preliminary. Indeed there was neither a clear nor unified view within the College on the issue, particularly with respect to the academic focus of the new department — including its relationship to existing subjects taught in the Faculty of Arts for the B.A. General Degree. This actuality, but perhaps more importantly the perennial problem of funding for ‘normal’ teaching activities, coupled with uncertainty about the Colonial Development and Welfare (CD&W) research allocation to the Institute of Social and Economic Research made caution vital.

In light of this and the Inter-University Council for Higher Education in the Colonies’ Lillian Penson Committee Report, Senate on 10th June 1954 instructed the Committee to review their recommendations.[33] Penson had actually cast the proposed creation of a department of Economics in an entirely new perspective relative to the natural consequences that should flow. Noting that creation of the department was approved and financial provision made for it in the estimates ‘on a modest scale’, Penson concluded that the ‘scale’ did not appear to them to be adequate![34]

Penson also considered another suggestion alive in the College at the time—that of creating a Department of Philosophy: “It has been represented to us that this Department might serve two purposes. It might be regarded in one sense as a companion department to Economics in the Social Sciences. A subject which might be described as Government and Social Philosophy could find its place in the scheme for a B.A. General Degree just as Economics could. Secondly, it would serve the purpose of providing courses of lectures on the History of Political Thought essential for students for the Honours Degree in History and a shorter course of lectures on English Philosophy as a background to the work undertaken by students in English.”[35]

They concluded however, that this dual purpose department was not practicable as it would require too substantial an increase in staff and be too costly. But beyond this vision, the Penson Committee’s comments went even further: “…we must emphasize that once the College has started to teach ‘Economics’ it has committed itself to developing a department or a Faculty of the Social Sciences, since Economics cannot be usefully taught in isolation from other subjects, including economic history, statistics, political philosophy and political institutions.”[36] The preponderant issue was funding as well as the generally accepted notion in the College that the Institute of Social and Economic Research should provide core staff for a Department of Economics.

The CD&W research allocation had provided capital for buildings, to equip a library and provide accommodation for visiting staff of the I.S.E.R. Contract Institute staff salaries and other costs were funded by CD&W recurrent grants which also covered secretarial, computing [not to be understood in today’s terms, this referred essentially to people — tabulating numbers by hand and when necessary, with the aid of mechanical calculating machines], other technical and junior staff. The institute’s academic staff at this time — 1954 — consisted of a Director and seven full-time researchers. As it would turn out in the end, there were problems of personality and status, organizational complexity, Colonial Office policy, funding and simply logistics that had to be overcome before a full-fledged Department of Economics in a Faculty of Social Sciences could be established.

It was the understanding of the Penson Committee, from discussions with the Colonial Office, that “ … the Colonial Social Science Research Council is at present [1954] considering the future of this Institute and of similar Institutes in West, East and Central Africa … The Secretary of State for the Colonies has informed the College that ‘the incorporation of the Institute within a teaching department of the University College, under a professorial head, would be within the spirit of the original scheme and proposals to this effect would have his sympathetic consideration’. This matter is therefore now being discussed by the Senate of the College in connection with the proposals for establishing a teaching department in Economics.”[37]

Of note here is the interplay of British Colonial policy with arrangements for both research and teaching in the soon to be independent colonies of Empire. Funding was, as always and continues to be today, of immense importance. Yet the matter of focus for tertiary education and research was also hostage to the exigencies of the end of Empire. Could the University College commit to funding a Department of Economics as well as maintain its complement of researchers at the I.S.E.R.?

Choosing the latter meant that in creating a Department of Economics, given the developments envisaged as inevitable by Penson, the University College would have either to obtain substantial increases in its resources — from the not so well-off colonies that it served and was supported by — or grant funding from outside sources would have to continue, preferably at enhanced levels.

The Senate Committee on the Institute of Social and Economic Research and teaching in Economics in their second, revised report—December 6th 1954—took note of Penson arguing that in many ways the Institute and Department “… would be entirely separate, but the Committee feel that they could be of great help to each other and that there are likely to be points of interest common to both. The Committee suggest, therefore, that a joint commit-tee should be appointed, under the Chairmanship of the Principal or his deputy, to make recommendations where necessary to the Senate on matters of common concern to the Institute and the new Department. The Committee assume that the Director of the Institute and the Senior Lecturer in charge of the Department would be members of this joint committee.”[38]

Their previous recommendation with respect to timing and staffing held. A Senior Lecturer was to be appointed as soon as possible to assume Headship of the Department.  As it turned out, the proposal for incorporation of the Institute within a teaching department appears never to have been officially abandoned. Halting steps were made for implementation but the merger never materialized and the Institute of Social and Economic Research, now the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Research (SALISES) continues as a separate department in the Faculty of Social Sciences still with special funding arrangements for much of its activities. The reasons for this, many and varied, we explore when we come to look at the new Faculty of Social Sciences.

In order to get Economics introduced quickly as we have seen, the department was created in the Faculty of Arts. Teaching began in October 1955. Mr. D.J. Morgan, who had been at the University of Liverpool from 1942 to 1947 as lecturer in Economics and Commerce and at the London School of Economics and Political Science (L.S.E.) thereafter, as Lecturer under Prof. J.E. Meade, joined the Faculty of Arts as Senior Lecturer in September 1955. He became Head of the Department of Economics. Indeed the 1955/56 calendar boasts a Department of one man, Morgan!

In the run-up to Morgan’s appointment, the College continued to explore ideas of the type of economics it would teach, what degree it would offer and what levels these would achieve. Dean of the Faculty of Arts, A.K. Croston had written to the Director of the L.S.E., Sir Alexander Carr-Saunders indicating the lines of the Faculty’s thinking.[39] The idea was to consolidate and strengthen the departments that were weak, i.e. number and areas of specialization of staff. In the extant quinquennial grant, there was provision for a Department of Economics to be staffed by one senior lecturer and two lecturers, as approved by the governments. I quote extensively from this exchange of correspondence for the vision it portrays of the thinking of the time.

Dean Croston indicated in his letter to Carr-Saunders that “… the idea is to teach in the first instance for the Intermediate and B.A. (General) Economics. Whether we should be able to get the money from the West Indian governments for ‘consolidation’ and for further expansion is of course problematical. Nevertheless we shall attempt to do both. So far as expansion is concerned my Faculty has thought about the competing claims of Philosophy, Geography and some subject such as ‘Government’, the last being pressed strongly by the Vice-Principal. [The Vice-Principal is Sherlock; concerned with federation and self-government hence the urgent need for ‘Government’] The Science Faculty has also considered Geography and has put it very low on its order of priority, well below Geology. My own Faculty would put it below Philosophy; and so far as philosophy is concerned, although there is much support for it, the majority of the members of the Faculty consider that it is something of a luxury in our circumstances. We feel that something of the kind of discipline offered by Philosophy could be given in a less abstract context if we aimed at some variety of the B.Sc. (Econ.) degree, with special emphasis on Government. We have decided to put this as our first priority for future development. We should regard the degree as belonging rather to Arts than to Sciences and we thought it might be possible to provide teaching for it largely by strengthening present departments. It might be most satisfactory to create a sub-department, in the History department, of Economic History. There is of course the question of direction: this might be done by a small board of studies – Dean, the head of Economics and the head of Economic History. Of course nobody here has experience of the B.Sc. (Econ.) degree and we should very much value your advice. Do you consider the kind of thing we have in mind is feasible?

To get down to details: the variety of B.Sc. (Econ) we thought suitable is the following

Part I

  1. Principles of Economics
  2. Applied Economics
  3. Political History
  4. Economic History
  5. Elements of Government
  6. History of Political Ideas

Of the alternatives, say,

  1. Mathematics
  2. An approved modern language

Part II

Government - As in the normal B.Sc. (Econ.) syllabus but perhaps with some local bias. We should, I imagine, offer Constitutional History since 1660 as the fifth paper, rather than Administrative Law or Public Finance.”[40]

Dean Croston’s and the Faculty’s idea on keeping staff costs down was to use resources already on the ground from the Mathematics department, benefit from the large overlap that would exist between the B.A. General and the new B.Sc. (Econ.) degree and as well perhaps, put in a course on Social Structure which could be taught by one of the staff of the Institute of Social and Economic Research. Whereas Croston attributes the uncertainties surrounding the B.Sc. (Econ.) degree to the College’s lack of experience in the subject, it must also at least in part, be attributed to the status of Economics as a University discipline in general as well as its yet immature status in UK Universities and the L.S.E. itself.

Carr-Saunders in response deals with three themes:

  • general remarks of historical interest on development of the cultures of academic inquiry and peculiarities of British University development—clearly of interest to us even today—but important in their own right for this exercise from the viewpoint of tracing the focus the College ultimately adopted
  • broad aims the College might pursue; and
  • the practical problem of scarce resources and their use

On the issue of a name for the degree he points out that “The older universities award the degree B.A. to chemists, zoologists and indeed to all those qualifying for a first degree; this is absurd and is due to a strange piece of history. Likewise, London has been led to an absurdity when it calls a degree, the closest parallel to which is Modern Greats, a degree in Science. But it is not to be inferred that we think of our studies as parallel to studies in natural science.” Carr-Saunders goes on to discuss Philosophy and the other subjects Croston had mentioned, pointing out that students at large should be aware of philosophical problems.

He did as well, indicate a possible solution: “... A man with the necessary equipment and especially the necessary personality can exert a most beneficient influence in a College; the University of Malaya has been fortunate in finding a philosopher who can do just this; in other colleges a theologian may play this part and again elsewhere a ‘political philosopher’.” Preferring the latter solution he continues with the proposed inclusion of social studies in the B.A. (General) and creation of the B.Sc. (Econ.). With respect to the B.A. (General) he points out that “The London regulations mention only Economics among the subjects for this degree, but London is prepared to approve other social study subjects with Economics. For Makerere, London has approved Political Science and Sociology. ... Next as to the B.Sc. (Econ.). Since you will have three posts for economists you might as well offer Economics, Analytical and Descriptive, as well as Government in Part II. … Your economists might feel rather limited and frustrated if they were confined to teaching for the B.A. (General) and Part I of the B.Sc. (Econ.)”.

Commenting on scarce resources and the proposed new developments he goes on to examine options: “To begin with it is obvious that the provision of courses in Economics and Government for the B.A. (General) offers no difficulty. Next there is Economic History for Part I of the B.Sc. (Econ.). You would, I think, need an economic historian, i.e. someone who had specialized in that subject, and since all three posts under the head of Economics would be needed for Economics pure and applied, you would have to devote one of the four other posts for this new field. Your economic historian would not have a heavy teaching burden, and might be useful elsewhere; if he came from one of the older universities he would be primarily a historian, and able therefore to assist in the history department; if he had the B.Sc. (Econ.) qualification he could assist with Economics in Part I of the course for that degree. As to the three posts for economists, one should go to a person interested in economic theory and the history of economic thought; another should go to an applied economist. One or other of these two should be able to cover Public Finance which is an option for Part II both in Economics and Government. The third post might well go to someone who would deal with economic problems treated statistically; this subject is an option in Part II in Economics.  …Assuming that with your present strength you can cover Political History, Modern Language and Mathematics, you will be all right for Part I and might be also able to offer elementary Statistical Method. Economics Part II would be fully covered. You would not cover Administrative Law in Part II of Government but that would not matter. You would also not cover Constitutional History and this is rather more troublesome.”[41]

Fluidity of the situation surrounding ideas for the Department of Economics offering the B.Sc. (Econ.) and creation of a Faculty of Social Sciences may further be gleaned from Carr-Saunders comments on ‘Government’ and departmental structure. With respect to Government, he expresses delight that it is being considered by the College, going on to point out that in his view: “…. it has an importance fully equal to that of Economics — both on its academic merits and its practical standing (incidentally it has a greater literature). Our older universities have not neglected Government; but they have not drawn the threads together; the great themes are discussed but in a disjointed fashion (at Oxford, e.g. in the schools of Greats, Modern Greats, History and so on). Our modern universities, with their more rigid departmentalism have largely neglected it (probably just because it was not recognised as a semi-autonomous field in the older universities for which the newer universities should also make provision). To my regret the recent (post-war) developments in the newer universities have been rather in the field of Sociology, Anthropology and Psychology, than of Government.”[42]

When it came to the actual departmental structure the College should institute, his presumption was that departments of Economics and Government would be set up, “… following the pattern normal in the new universities; Economic History might fall either under the History Department or the Economics Department according to the background of the holder of the post. But I might say that I have doubts about the need for a strict department structure — at least outside science and the professional schools. At the London School of Economics we manage to do without a departmental organisation in the strict sense of the word; we appoint people to teach subjects wherever the need for that subject may be. Thus we should find no difficulty in an appointment analogous to that of your economic historian it would be understood that he raught [sic] economic history wherever economic history was needed.”[43]

These discussions continued for a sustained period, in fact until teaching began in 1955. Even at the start of teaching in Economics, content of the degree appears unsettled. Firstly the problem of resources would not go away. Depending on what was to be taught, what degree to be offered, the number of ‘bodies’ and specializations would increase. Commenting to the Registrar in a letter in which he requests funding for the next triennium, D.J. Morgan indicated that when he arrived at the College, he felt “ … that the Department had reason for its existence not because it saved students going to London or elsewhere but because it offered something which London does not for West Indian Students. In the context of the B.A. (General) I conceive that to be a regional economic study of the Caribbean. I therefore drafted a course on the Economic Problems and Policies of the Caribbean which has now been approved by the Board of Studies in Economics of the University of London without amendment.  In order to provide teaching for one student next session and for the present Intermediate students in the following year it is necessary to collect a substantial amount of data. I have asked for help from the Institute of Social and Economic Research in preparing this material and have contacted government officials in Jamaica and elsewhere. It seems, however, that there is no substitute for first-hand knowledge of the Caribbean and no possibility of preparing the material without a greater or lesser amount of work in Jamaica and elsewhere. …. In so far as material does exist in Jamaica it is desirable owing to the need for as much speed as possible that help should be available on a piece-basis to work over the data in preparing material for teaching and eventually for writing a textbook for the course.”[44]

Morgan’s comments foreshadow what was to become quite a controversial issue in the Department of Economics in the mid-1960s, about the need for a course which eventually came to be known as Caribbean Economic Problems. His view coincided with the vision of the Irvine Committee and those of West Indians at the U.C.W.I. and elsewhere that the unique strength of the College in its preparation of West Indians would be precisely the West Indian content of the curricula. The notion of the West Indies as the subject/object of study was central — in effect embodying ‘local’ specificity notwithstanding the need for theory, development and broadening of the mind by study and knowledge of the universal. Unfortunately, our attempts to locate Morgan’s draft of Economic Problems and Policies of the Caribbean have proven so far, unsuccessful.

Honours Economics Accelerates Plans for Establishment of a Faculty of Social Sciences

In mid 1956, discussions about the Department of Economics, its staffing, teaching and finances continued among Registrar Springer, Secretary to the Senate Committee on Estimates A.Z. Preston, and various members of the Faculty of Arts including D.J. Morgan, Head of the Department of Economics. The idea of introducing the B.Sc. (Econ.) required estimates of expenditure for the next quinquennium—a task for Morgan. The University of London’s Faculty of Economics and Political Science offered the B.Sc. (Econ.) but had different entrance requirements and a different pattern of degree from that being envisaged by the College.

Morgan proposed that there be a separation involving lecturers in Government being associated with and therefore budgeted for, in a Department of Philosophy and Government. As he put it in an August 28, 1956 letter to Preston, “I came to hear allegations of imperial expansion were being made against me. To allay such fears however unfounded, I proposed that the two lecturers in Government (one a political philosopher anyway and the other a specialist in political institutions) should be tacked on to the proposed Department of Philosophy and Government and be administered separately from my Department. I still think the division was sensible even though the initial reason for making it was unjust. However, the Estimates Committee would be seriously in error if they thought that the B.Sc. (Econ.) degree could be introduced merely by appointing two specialists in Government and offering in the third year only the Government option.”[45]

Having made his point about the nature of the proposed degree, Morgan indicated his perception of problems with respect to the content of the degree offering, the availability of funding for lecturers and provided a detailed assessment of possible solutions, including use of I.S.E.R. Staff and resources. He proposed a scheme which required appointment in Year I, of Lecturers in Economic History, Political Philosophy, Senior Lecturer in Accounting and part-time Lecturer in English Law. Statistics was to be taught in Year II. With respect to I.S.E.R he argued that:

“As far as staff is concerned, the Institute does not have a Statistician able to teach statistics. It does not have a Lawyer or an Accountant. It has no one with specialist knowledge in Industry and Trade. It has no one able to teach Economic Theory. So on the Economic side it has virtually nothing to offer that would significantly contribute to the teaching programme of the Department of Economics. The Committee may well wonder what on the economic side the Institute possesses. Apart from the Director, there are now three Research Fellows in Economics. Mr. Cumper has successively applied for the Headship, the second vacancy and the third vacancy in this Department. After his recent interview by the Inter-University Council it was reported inter alia, that: ‘Cumper has published but the work is moderate only.’ ‘Cumper, as far as we know, has no University teaching experience and showed no very positive sign of having thought, for example, how he would set about teaching Economic Principles.’ Mr. Edwards was recently considered by the Appointments Committee here for appointment to a Research Fellowship for three years. The Committee recommended his appointment by two votes to one, myself dissenting. As the grounds of my dissent are not mentioned in the minutes of the meeting perhaps I should briefly mention them here. I read the only published article available by Edwards and found that it was not up to a London M.Sc [sic] (Econ.) standard. I asked the Committee to request that the unpublished work of Edwards be submitted to his London Ph.D. supervisor for report. This was resisted by Dr. Huggins and Mr. Sherlock voted with him. I still feel that until his further work is adjudicated upon by his London supervisor I must wait and see before accepting his competence as beyond question. The third Fellow just appointed is Miss O’Loughlin. She applied for my third vacancy but was not appointed owing to doubt about her theoretical grasp.

“There are four other Fellows, two in Sociology and two in Anthropology. As I mentioned to the Committee orally, I would welcome lectures from Dr. M.G. Smith and others in the Sociology of Politics in the Caribbean. That apart I cannot think of any further collaboration possible unless and until other options were offered in the B.Sc [sic] (Econ.)

“The Committee will no doubt be aware that, quite apart from the existence of suitable specialists of the right calibre at the Institute, the Fellows would have to be available. It is the practice of the Institute to send Fellows to other areas in the British Caribbean for long periods and even those in Jamaica may for long periods be away from college when collecting data.

“To turn to resources. The Institute Library certainly will be a useful resource for students. That apart, what resources are there? We might seek permission to use some of their statistical machines [manual calculators one presumes] but we would still need one in the Department so that we had first claim on that. Otherwise there seems to be only the buildings and the finances of the Institute. With the new Arts building we shall have sufficient accommodation. That leaves finances. Use could certainly be made of finance if no conditions were imposed. But I hardly think it worthwhile working out a scheme unless the Committee gives definite instructions.”[46]

Evidently Morgan did not think much of the I.S.E.R. as a source of assistance for the Department of Economics. His standards of judgment were either quite high as they should have been, or he had hidden issues in an agenda unknowable to us from available archival materials. Taken on the face of it nonetheless, it would appear that Morgan envisaged a high quality Department of Economics, thought it his duty and was unafraid of making his views known. The fact that he chose to use the opportunity of the Estimates Committee’s request for his views on ‘four points’ to plead his entire case, suggests however, that he either did not have the ear of the top decision makers, or that they were not persuaded by his vision—a vision which they can reasonably be assumed to have at least, previously glimpsed.

Whereas our earlier comments are at best, essentially speculative, subsequent events do lend force to the view that, for whatever reasons, Morgan did not have the support of the leaders of the College. On November 23rd 1956, Morgan wrote the Principal proposing that a Chair be provided for, in the next quinquennial estimate: “In my letter of 19th November I enquired as to the machinery for creating Chairs in this College. When I called on you to-day [sic] you explained that it was open to the Head of a Department to propose, as part of his quinquennial estimates, that allowance be made for a Chair.”[47]

Morgan therefore revised his estimates supporting his proposal on three grounds. First the B.Sc. (Econ.) degree would be offered at the beginning of the next quinquennium. This he argued was a “… high-powered degree and in circumstances where it is far from easy to attract staff of the right calibre, it is inevitable that fairly senior appointments will be made in the Department. It would be inappropriate therefore for the Head of the Department not to have the status of a Professor.” Secondly he argued that once honours teaching began the Department of Economics would be of no less importance than any other. In addition “… the Head of the Department should be a Professor if he is capable of instituting and running the B.Sc. (Econ.) degree.” Finally, he submitted that “To represent the subject properly in an environment such as that of the British West Indies, where economic development has first priority and where the economic problems of Federation have yet to be faced, the Head of the Department should have the status of a Professor if he is to carry his full weight in the solution to these problems.”[48]

Evidently, Morgan’s high academic standards in declaring that the I.S.E.R.’s Cumper, Edwards and O’Loughlin were not suitable candidates for appointment to the Department were suspended when it came to discussion of a Professorship, which he justified purely on administrative grounds, and latterly, the basis of expediency. On any reading of this correspondence, it is at best extremely difficult, perhaps impossible, not to form the impression that Morgan’s proposed Chair was being created for himself!

Principal, W.W. Grave, with characteristic British ambiguity embodying an element of certainty, responds as follows:

“My dear Morgan,

This is to acknowledge your letter of 23 November [1956] in which you put forward the case for the establishment of the Professorship of Economics as from the beginning of the new quinquennium.

The Estimates Committee of the Senate has already considered this possibility along with one or two others and has agreed, without making specific recommendations one way or the other, to put them before the Senate for its consideration.”[49]

It is not clear from the Principal’s reply whether the Estimates Committee had already considered the possibility of offering a Chair to Arthur Lewis, but Grave was giving Morgan no assurances whatsoever!

Morgan continued as Head of the Department of Economics hiring Eric Wyn Evans, Peter Kenneth Newman and Robert Barry Davison. Two years later, by the 26th January 1959, his correspondence to Acting Principal Sherlock revealed he was leaving the College later in the year. W. Arthur Lewis had by this time been appointed first, Professor of Political Economy and later Principal, but was still in New York completing his assignment at the United Nations.

As plans for introducing the Honours degree in Economics were beginning to crystallize, the Penson Committee’s observation that Economics could not be usefully taught in isolation from the other Social Sciences disciplines became more evident. Indeed the decision to offer the B.Sc. (Econ) was accelerating the process towards creation of a Faculty of Social Sciences.

Teaching of Economics up to 1959 created neither an Economics degree nor an “Economist”. Candidates for the Bachelor of Arts included Economics courses amongst the set of offerings in the Faculty of Arts. Now this was about to change. With respect to the work of the Department in terms of research and advisory roles both Newman and Davison engaged in consultative work with import substituting firms during the incipient industrial development phase in Jamaica. They worked on wages, bargaining and prices.

The Department of Economics: Lewis’ Influence and the attempted merger with I.S.E.R.

With Arthur Lewis appointed Professor of Political Economy, then Principal of U.C.W.I. to take effect in October of 1959 efforts to implement the idea of a merger of the I.S.E.R. and the Department of Economics began to take on urgency not previously evident. Lewis, Deputy Director of the United Nations Special Fund at the time—1958—had requested that he be allowed leave of absence to complete his assignment there. As it turned out, he would take up full time duty at the end of March 1960. In the meantime, a special arrangement between the U.C.W.I. and the U.N. guaranteed his availability to the College for discussions and conferences without cost but for travel and subsistence expenses.

We have seen that Morgan had his own ideas about the possibilities I.S.E.R. offered, now the Director of I.S.E.R., Registrar, Lewis and others would undertake the task of designing a Department within a Faculty of Social Sciences. There were suggestions to link a Department of Applied Economics with Sociology, in addition to having a separate Department of Economics.

It appeared that imperial designs, or at least fears of it, were still being thought of as not after all, purely fictional in character or ‘unfounded’, as Morgan would have argued. Lewis, in May 1958, commenting, on recommendations embodying some of these ideas, apparently originating with Huggins, then Director of I.S.E.R., notes the following:

“There isn’t much case for linking Applied Economics with Sociology, and there is a strong case against having a Department of Applied Economics as well as a Department of Economics.

      As I see the matter, Huggins should be Professor of Applied Economics within the Department of Economics, should continue to be Director of the Institute of Economic and Social Research [sic] (much cut down), and should have temporary responsibility for the Department of Sociology and for the Department of Philosophy and Government until such time as Professors are appointed in those subjects.

      It is not feasible to split Economics into different Departments, and this is not done elsewhere. It is quite usual to have several Professors of Economics, each with a different title, sharing the field between [sic] them; but one of these is always recognized as bearing the prime responsibility for the subject as a whole. In American universities his position is recognized by the formal title of ‘Chairman of the Department’. In British universities there is less formality; but there is always one chair that is senior to all the others – Robbins’ chair in London, Hick’s in Oxford, Meade’s in Cambridge, mine in Manchester – and the occupant of that chair is expected to think and speak for the subject as a whole. I assume that my chair at U.C.W.I. is in the same category. I hope that one day we will have ten Professors of Economics, but they will all be members of one Department.

      Huggins does not have to have a separate Department to safeguard his rights as a teacher. These are safeguarded by his status as a professor, by the democratic traditions of university departments, and by the fact that there is more than enough work for everybody. If the various Professors of Economics cannot get along together, the remedy is not to try to break up the Economics Department, but for one of them to migrate. I would not be coming to U.C.W.I. if Huggins and I had not thought we could get along together.

      In the social sciences it is normal for chairs to be instituted first in economics, and for teachers of sociology and of government to be members of the Department of Economics, or otherwise working under the supervision of the Professor of Economics, until such time as separate Departments are constituted. Thus, when I first became Professor of Political Economy in Manchester, I was formally responsible for both Government and Social Administration, the teachers of which were listed in the Calendar as members of the Department of Economics …

      Finally, I do not think that the Institute of Economic and Social Research [sic] should be completely dismembered. I agree with the proposition that senior members of a university should all be engaged in research. Every person of the rank of lecturer and upwards should be a full member of the teaching staff. At the same time it is useful to have a research section, consisting of junior people, to do the kind of slogging work which can be done only on a full-time basis. Most social science faculties now have a research section of this kind. Young people are appointed for one year or at most two; they have no permanent rights; they can apply for vacancies on the teaching staff; but for the most part they go into non-university jobs after their year or two as research assistants. Such Institutes are popular with the foundations; they attract funds more easily than the teaching departments. They can also take on jobs for the Government, hiring people temporarily, with funds provided by Government (federal or territorial) to do specific investigations at the Government’s request. They also provide a home for Fulbright and other visiting research fellows. Accordingly, I hope that we can keep the name of the Institute alive, with Huggins as Director. It would need funds for three or four junior research assistants only, in the Assistant Lecturer salary range, and the usual ‘laboratory’ funds, for computing assistance, typing, special library materials, etc. This is the pattern of London and the provincial universities, and of most American universities. Oxford, Cambridge and M.I.T. do otherwise; they have large research institutes with many senior members who have no teaching duties. A case can be made out for separate research institutes, but I do not see how U.C.W.I. could afford the luxury of maintaining two separate organizations, one for teaching and one for research. On the other hand the research work of the teaching department would be handicapped if we could not hire some research assistants, and have the other ‘laboratory’ facilities. The system I am recommending here seems the best compromise ...

      If these suggestions are not acceptable to the parties concerned, may I ask that the matter be held over for one more session until I arrive in October, 1959? It is difficult to argue these matters at this distance, and I should feel on safer ground if I were able to size up the local circumstances.”[50]

Lewis’ influence on the nature of the Department, the Honours degree in Economics and the design of the Faculty of Social Sciences are evident from this among several other pieces of correspondence ironing out details. On a visit in January 1959 he met with Hugh Springer, the College Registrar, Huggins, I.S.E.R. Director, Morgan, Head of Department of Economics and the Bursar. Springer, characteristically meticulous in his comments on correspondence and the like, made a note of decisions taken. They covered modification of Syllabuses, staffing and sequencing of teaching in different subjects among other matters. Springer’s note indicates the following:

“Economic History – Drastic modification required; Davidson [sic], Cumper, Hall at work producing draft to be presented tomorrow morning.

Elements of Government – a small change at the end – substitution of ‘Federal Systems with particular reference to the West Indies’.

Accounting – the deletion of the one word ‘British’ from the reference to Income Tax.”[51]

In his letter to Springer written in an effort to organize meetings for this January visit, Lewis questions why the “… Honours Degree is referred to as B.Sc. Special (Econ.) instead of B.Sc. (Econ).”[52] He also points out that the proposed curriculum be subjected to significant change. Upon review of the proposals he expresses concern that:

“… Applied Economics is all about British Steel Industry etc. In part [sic] I we shall need new syllabuses in Applied Economics, and should probably also do something about the syllabus in Economic History and in the Elements of Government … [which]… will need more material on the West Indies and the Commonwealth, and less on the British Constitution.”[53]

Lewis was, indeed from the very beginning, attempting to create an economics curriculum to include the particular concerns of the West Indies of his time. Federation was foremost on the agenda. The areas of specialization of staff in economics, timing of advertisements and requirements for modification of the estimates were agreed.

Upon return to New York Lewis wrote confirming decisions of the week-end meetings. The existing syllabus for Economic History, essentially that of the L.S.E., in keeping with his general view that there should be ‘more material on the West Indies and the Commonwealth’ was to be deleted altogether and the following substituted:

“Outlines of the economic organization of Western Europe to the eighteenth century.

The international economy and European rivalries in the eighteenth century, with special reference to the Americas and the Caribbean Islands.

The Industrialization of Western Europe, the US.A., Russia and Japan in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Changes in the organization of agriculture, transport, banking, commerce and labour. Fluctuations in economic activity.

World trade in the nineteenth century, and the international movement of people and capital. The expansion of primary producing countries. The colonial system.

Social aspects of economic development. The emergence of the “welfare state”.

Economic developments between the two world wars.

Economic development of the West Indies since 1834.”[54]

Evidently, Lewis was fashioning an economic history that could shed light on the colonial condition in general and the West Indies in particular. The emphasis on world trade reflects both his own work in the subject and that of his interest in fluctuations in world economic activity. Still operating from his UN New York Office, he also immediately set about activating contacts for attracting proven scholars to the Department and Faculty of the U.C.W.I.

He used various ‘pitches’. To Kenneth Lomak, one of his former colleagues at Manchester he spoke of being ‘surprised to hear about new appointments’ in Manchester, [my inference here being either that his colleague may have been overlooked for promotion or there was an ongoing shift in the department’s focus] Jamaica’s ‘excellent climate’ and the fact that ‘there is plenty of intellectual and artistic activity both within the University and outside it; and no lack of political excitement. You would have unlimited opportunities for making yourself useful in the islands, and for enjoying yourself.’[55] He completed this particular invitation by focusing on his former colleague’s family situation as well as his proposed status at the College:

“Your children would present you with a problem at their present ages. Schools in Jamaica are good, and if the boys were going to attend the University College in Jamaica it would be simplest to bring them out. However, if they are going to go to British universities, it would seem better to leave them in their present schools. I hope you will not take it amiss that we have no chair to offer you, as it is a very small department, which will not even be commencing Honours teaching until this October. I am emboldened to ask whether you are interested in the transfer by the fact that I have myself made the same transfer without promotion.”[56]

But the weather at the College was not always reflective of that excellent climate of which Lewis boasted! In the period after Morgan left but before Lewis would have arrived, R.B. Davison acted as Head of the Department of Economics, still ‘housed’ in the Faculty of Arts. There were some interesting—from the viewpoint of college administrative and academic politics—but minor developments involving Morgan. Morgan was apparently not considered for the Chair he had succeeded in getting approved in the estimates. He tendered his resignation.

On previous occasions when he had been away, Newman acted as Head of Department. He was senior to Davison. This time it would be Davison, for Morgan had written to Acting Principal Sherlock outlining all the reasons that it would be best if Davison and not Newman took the responsibility. Sherlock thus advised and with Springer’s support, of course concurred; in fact Newman was likely to be away for some of the period. Nevertheless Newman protested that Morgan’s departure from normal procedure was based on flimsy excuses.

We are of course, scrupulously aware that regardless of protestations to the contrary, facts find it difficult to, or rather never really speak for themselves. Thus from a close reading of the correspondence it is clear that Morgan’s departing wish was to ‘demote’ Newman. He ‘arranged’ for Acting Principal Sherlock, to concur with his view before letting Newman know that indeed, it was Sherlock’s wish! In actuality Sherlock was persuaded by Morgan’s comments set before him in the previous correspondence. Upon Newman’s protestations to the Acting Principal, Springer told Sherlock he should not change his decision—‘should not’, from Springer really meant at minimum ought not, at maximum could not! [Newman was a ‘rising star’ it would seem from Lewis’ opinion of him.

Whereas he was willing to lose, or rather, offer Davison as a prospect for a position with the University of Khartoum, he wanted to keep Newman at U.C.W.I.][57]. Morgan appears as well, to express acrimony in his correspondence with Registrar Springer. He had received from Senior Assistant Registrar Hector Wynter, a copy of draft regulations for the B.Sc. (Econ.) degree meant to be sent to London for approval. For appreciation of its nuances, I quote from the letter in some detail. He begins by noting that the draft was sent to him for information, yet he was also asked for comments. [This in itself is a nudge at Wynter who ought to know better: sending material as information meant just and only that!] Morgan follows up on March 6, 1959 by spelling out his role in the process:

“As you know, I had the greatest difficulty getting the B.Sc. (Econ.) Estimates through. I proposed to offer Industry and Trade [part of what Lewis describes as ‘all about British Steel’] as the main Economics Option and Government as the main non-economics option in Part II. In addition, as far as staffing permitted, I said we might offer Economics, Analytical and Descriptive, International Economics and Modern Economic History. The Estimates were eventually agreed to. Since then much water has flown [sic] under the bridges. I will not catalogue what has gone into the water. Let us come right up-to-date. Lewis came down because you felt that in view of my decision to leave the start of the B.Sc. (Econ.) should be postponed until 1960. He decided to proceed. Since then he has been appointed Principal. Does not that alter the position once more?

It seems to me rather pathetic that not more than seven months before teaching should begin the Senior Assistant Registrar should be circulating this paper and seeking comments from members of the teaching department and one other who has never taught or taken an undergraduate degree. [This seems a reference to Huggins—Wynter’s Memo dated 2nd March 1959 was sent to Morgan, Davison, Newman and Huggins] Also the draft is incomplete for no Part II syllabus is shown. At the same time the number of Part II options is amazing. I remember being attacked by a certain person for offering too much. In that case your list is incredible window-dressing. I just cannot take it seriously.

What I should like you to take seriously is my suggestion that you are doing neither the college nor the region any good by proceeding on this amateur and spurious basis in anticipation of getting adequate staff on time and an experienced person to run the day-to-day administration of the Department. Maybe Lewis feels he can be both Principal and effective Head of the Department. In that case all is well providing it works out. If not, I think you are making a major error in proceeding with the degree for October next. I feel I should warn you of that now.

I am sending copies of this letter to the Acting Principal and to the two members of my Department.”[58]

Morgan is obviously irritated, even though we cannot know what, in his view, has ‘flown under the bridges’ or actually ‘gone into the water’! He ignores Huggins entirely—recall Huggins was Director of the I.S.E.R., which as we saw earlier in Morgan’s view, had nothing to offer the Department of Economics: the staff was all not appointable either for lacking competence in theory, being capable of only moderate work or having a competence that could not be construed as beyond question. Morgan now seemingly refers to the Director, Huggins, as “one other who has never taught or taken an undergraduate degree”! To cap it all, Morgan’s suggestion, if it might so mildly be described, is that while Lewis is bent on attempting to be ‘superman’, he clearly foresees, or rather predicts disaster.

Nevertheless, in June of 1959 the Registrar informed Finance and General Purposes Committee by way of reading a cable from “Principal Designate Professor W. Arthur Lewis… [stating] … that he had been able to secure the services of the World famous Kenneth Boulding (an English Graduate), Professor of Economics, University of Michigan for one year starting October 1959.”[59] Lewis had negotiated with the Rockefeller Foundation to cover US$10,000 of the required emolument, with the U.C.W.I. having to raise at least US$9,000 (approximately £3,150). The F&GPC discussion indicates that it was unclear from the cable whether the sum U.C.W.I. should provide was meant to cover salary, child allowance, entertainment and pension. The Registrar reported having written to Principal Designate Lewis seeking clarification on the latter. Nevertheless the committee agreed to the proposed arrangements.

After this period of preparation—almost a year—Finance and General Purposes Committee moves a “Vote of Welcome for the Principal W.A. Lewis” at the Meeting of Friday, 29th April 1960. Arthur Lewis had taken up his position full time. There were still some unsettled issues with respect to the Faculty of Social Sciences and the Department of Economics. Indeed, it was not until two months later, June of 1960 that Senate officially recommended establishment of a Faculty of Social Sciences.

The subjects to be included in the new faculty were Economics, Government, Economic History, Sociology and Economic Statistics. In addition to the Professors in the subjects specified, the Dean of The Faculty of Arts, Professors of History, Modern Languages and Mathematics would also be members of the Faculty. With respect to the Economics Department, Lewis would be titular Head while day to day affairs would initially fall to Professor Huggins, the Director of I.S.E.R. who also was designated a member of the Department of Economics.

The B.Sc. (Econ.) Part I would consist of four subjects: Paper I Economics, Paper II Political Institutions, Paper III Economic History and Paper IV Elementary Statistical Method and Sources. There were thirty four candidates registered and eligible to take the examinations of June 1960. The fees were £7. 7s.—London Fee and £2. 10s.—Local Fee. [Among the candidates were Horace Orlando Lloyd Patterson, Norman Paul Girvan and Jocelin Averil Byrne – all later to serve on the UWI staff].

Lewis at Mona

Further Preparation for the B.Sc. (Econ.) in a Faculty of Social Sciences

Lewis, when he did arrive in the third session of 1959 – ’60 to take up his position full time, commenced his task with enthusiasm. But prior to this, while based in New York his activity related to introducing the B.Sc. (Econ.) and creating a full fledged Department of Economics within a Faculty of Social Sciences continued apace. Sherlock commented on the fact that he pushed himself hard and therefore expected no less from his colleagues. This much was evident from the flurry of activity that preceded approval of the U.C.W.I. degree structure by the Board of Studies in Economics of the University of London.

Several issues had to be dealt with in order for the College to offer the Honours degree in economics: entry requirements, which at the College, differed as between the Faculties of Arts and Social Sciences; when examinations would be held; content of the offerings; who would teach and administratively who would be the functioning ‘Head’ of the Department of Economics. Apart from the difficulties presented by the short time available—it was planned to begin teaching in October 1959—staffing, administrative and personality issues, the process of establishing the B.Sc. (Econ.) was made the more complex because the London School of Economics and Political Science (L.S.E.), as Robbins had indicated, was concurrently engaged in an apparently controversial process of restructuring its own internal B.Sc. (Econ.) degree.

On the issue of staffing the Bursar foresaw a problem. Lewis, reporting to Finance and General Purposes Committee on his April 1959 visit indicated that in discussion with the I.S.E.R staff, he observed that since they had permanent appointments with the College, best practice suggested they be given appointments in the reconstituted Department of Economics. The Bursar’s disquiet centred on the fact that there had been no communication either from the Federal Government or the Colonial Office with respect to their projected support for the Institute beyond March 31st 1960. In other words, future funding for these posts was neither clear nor settled. Despite these concerns however, upon fuller discussion of the issues it was agreed that decisions of Council would take effect from October 1st 1959 as follows:

“(a)  the conferring of the title of Professor of Applied Economics on the present Director of the Institute;

(b)    the Appointment of Dr. M.G. Smith, at present Senior Research Fellow in the Institute as Senior Lecturer in the reconstituted Department of Economics;

(c)    the appointment of the following research fellows in the Institute as Lecturers in the reconstituted Department of Economics:

                  Mr. G.E. Cumper

                  Mr. L.E.S. Braithwaite

                  Mr. D.T. Edwards”[60]

There was now one final matter to be ironed out. Huggins would become Professor of Applied Economics. But there was need also for a Professor of Economics, someone who would fit more in line with what Lewis had described in his letter to Springer—someone erudite and accomplished in ‘Theory’, someone who would “think and speak for the subject as a whole”. This Chair, as outlined in Lewis’ thinking in his previously quoted letter to Registrar Springer, although equivalent in status to that of the Professor of Applied Economics would be similar to the ones occupied in the British system by Robbins, Hicks, Meade and formerly by Lewis himself at Manchester. Finally there was the issue of who would be Head of the Department. It was at this point that Lewis proposed himself as Titular Head of the department. He pointed out obvious objections that could be raised but nevertheless Finance and General Purposes Committee, after discussion agreed to accept all of Lewis’ proposals.[61]

It is patently clear that Arthur Lewis’ influence over the whole process of creation of the original B.Sc. (Econ.) Honours programme requiring transfer of the Department of Economics from the Faculty of Arts to a new Faculty of Social Sciences and that of the new Faculty itself was of crucial significance. Time after time he made proposals, identified possible objections and suggested counters. Invariably his proposals were accepted. One can well imagine [we must imagine for F&GPC Minutes generally neither spelled out fine details nor attributed all specific comments] his indicating, among his conjecture of potential objections, that ideas embodying the ‘Superman’ metaphor associated with Morgan could be grounds for protestation. But he would counter them anyway. As we indicated earlier, just two months later (June 1959) he did manage to persuade Boulding to accept a Professorship at U.C.W.I. And in order to be able to do this he had to sell the idea to the Rockefeller Foundation—to the tune of US$10,000 for one year.

The impression one develops from reported activities, conversations, letters and communication around this period—a period that might reasonably be described as one of “positive West Indian Federal ferment”—is one of Arthur Lewis as colossus, Hugh Springer as superbly able and willing accomplice, midwife and collaborator, Preston as quietly competent and accommodating in managing finances and Sherlock, Nationalist looking to the College’s role in preparing the region for self-government, all witnessing, or rather in a more important sense, participating as dramatis personae, in what they conceived to be birth of the West Indian Nation.[62]

In attempting to locate the source of Lewis’ influence as well, we should recall that from an academic standpoint, a mere five years earlier he had published the highly regarded piece, “Economic Development with Unlimited Supplies of Labour” while he was Stanley Jevons Professor of Political Economy at the University of Manchester. Himself a product of L.S.E. he took first class honours in the B.Com. Degree and had at that time [1938] been “… given a one year teaching appointment which was sensational for British universities.”[63] He was on first name terms with Robbins and other influential British academics who held him in esteem, had a concurrently important role in the United Nations, and advised governments including Ghana, part of the wave of ‘accession to independence’ in the post World War II dismantling of the British Empire over which Churchill insisted he did not wish to preside![64]

Lewis had, as well, at the very beginning of his career, submitted to the Moyne Commission an important memorandum which, reflecting his outlook as a Fabian Socialist, inevitably expressed his concerns about poverty, its causes in the West Indies and mechanisms for alleviation. Lewis had also, as a result of Eric Williams’ efforts, been appointed Consultant to the Caribbean Commission responsible for a study of industrial development in Puerto Rico and had written the controversial prescriptive piece: “The Industrialization of the British West Indies”.[65] He was without doubt an anti-colonial speaking to the issues of freedom, independence and development for colonial peoples.[66]

In short, Lewis combined his being West Indian and having the ear of West Indian politicians most of whom he knew personally, with all of the former attributes that would provide ample authentication for his leading role in the West Indian University. He was one of the first of what would become a continuing tradition in the West Indies of a son who had excelled abroad and would be accepted, at least in part, because of that Metropolitan imprimatur.

Apart from Lewis’ influence in building the Department of Economics and in the process, creating a Faculty of Social Science, it is also evident both from his decisions and focus around this time that he accepted the Irvine Committee’s notion that the university in the West Indies should be of the ‘first rank’. Certainly at the personal level this notion, perhaps compulsion, would have been Lewis’ guiding principle—to swim and be at the top of the stream. It was the only way he knew how to achieve. He does not appear, from any available documentary evidence—quite the contrary to Eric Williams—to have had any difficulty with the idea of a West Indian university with subordinate beginnings as a College of the University of London.[67] In any event, he comes to the College eleven years after its creation.

Williams, on the contrary, from the very beginning was of the view that the West Indian University should be fully self-governing and not affiliated to either a British or Canadian University—proposals considered by Irvine. He had expressed this view in a memorandum requested by Irvine.[68] The impression one forms is that of Lewis determined to work with conditions and arrangements as he found them but to shape or mold them into something functionally relevant and superior for the West Indian student, graduate and society—in an almost perhaps, proactively Burkeian approach to change. Recall his thoughts to Springer envisaging a time when there might be ten professors of Economics. And for him, he would seek out the best and most respected.

All of the foregoing can actually be put simply in very few words: Lewis’ enduring personal goal was excellence; his views and opinion carried weight. Initially this seems to have been a positive factor in his ability to negotiate hurdles and achieve objectives which might at first glance have seemed only remotely possible. One case in point was Boulding’s appointment to the Chair in Economics, an arrangement privately negotiated by Lewis. “… Senate noted the circumstances which led to the decision of the Finance and General Purposes Committee with regard to the post of Professor of Economics and expressed the hope that whenever it should be proposed that the Chair be permanently filled the usual procedure of advertisement would be followed.”[69] Members of the College it seems, were clear that Lewis had in a sense achieved a coup. They thought the development was in the best interest of the Department as it embarked on its inevitable new growth but were at the same time concerned that procedures meant to guarantee transparency and achieve the best possible considered consensus view of Faculty—the very same ‘democratic tradition’ Lewis had stressed to Springer in his argument against splitting the Department of Economics into ‘Pure’ and ‘Applied’—were breached.

That Lewis was influential at the U.C.W.I. is beyond question. He was held in high regard in academic circles associated with the discipline and beyond. And as we shall see from the Penson Report, the quality of research work the College had been able to generate in its first six years of life was indeed living up to Irvine’s ‘first rank’ notion. Yet, notwithstanding all this, attracting first rank staff would continue as a perennial problem.

U.C.W.I. was a young institution with, in comparative terms, meagre finances. But the work its Faculty undertook, from the earliest stage rapidly became internationally known, regarded and recognized. As early as 1954 Penson had concluded that:

“… the College has, in our view, made a most remarkable beginning. Its six years have resulted in the establishment of an institution which bids fair to make its mark in the University world. … We have emphasized the excellence of the research in the humanities, in pure and applied science and in medicine which is being undertaken at the College. We have emphasized too the importance of the fact that in the course of the promotion of their research the members of the College have had an admirable regard to the special conditions and needs of the West Indies.”[70]

Further support for this view is to be gleaned from the fact that the Nuffield Foundation in 1954 made a quite significant benefaction to the College—a capital grant of £50,000 – in recognition of its work and as “…a tribute to its considerable achievements”. That the grant was important and of great value in 1954 is beyond question, at today’s current value it would exceed millions of Pounds Sterling![71]

Thus there were two positive academic pull factors at this time of recruitment for the Department of Economics—first the College was gaining international academic recognition, second Lewis was an economist of distinction moving to this particular institution. We may add to this the complementary non-academic but not unimportant features Jamaica and the West Indies had to offer [see above in Lewis to Lomak]. Yet, the College still had obvious deficiencies it could not immediately overcome. Library and laboratory resources although adequate for some endeavours, were still in the development stage and research funds limited.[72]

In addition the ‘critical mass’ of academics and research activity was yet to be attained. This was up until then a period of ‘construction’ of the College—and for Economics literally marking out, excavating and casting the foundation. In this kind of situation U.C.W.I. could readily attract enthusiastic West Indians of proven record for obvious reasons—patriotism,  nationalism and cultural factors—not to mention the negative but perhaps more important reality that colonials or ‘black’ West Indians could neither generally nor readily hope to achieve either academic positions or administrative ones such as Registrar at universities abroad against indigenous competition, regardless of their competence and/or qualifications unless they were unambiguously exceptional. Up to that time there were just a few such outstanding West Indians who had held academic positions at recognized universities—Capildeo, Lewis and Williams readily come to mind. But the number of such West Indians would naturally be quite small. Attracting non-West Indians of the requisite calibre was altogether another matter.

One might reasonably view Morgan’s pessimism regarding the College’s capacity to attract the right calibre of staff in time to begin Honours teaching in September 1959 as exaggerated by bias and therefore to be disregarded as an outlier. That would however, neither be prudent nor justified for we also have Newman’s considered view on the issue in general and on the quantitative area in particular. In a penned note responding to Senior Assistant Registrar Wynter’s request for comments on the proposed draft regulations for the B.Sc. (Econ) mentioned earlier, Newman apologizes for ‘rambling off the point at times’ but voices his concerns thus:

“I am especially worried about statistics. The requirement here is for a good mathematical statistician, probably to be attached to the Maths. dept. [sic] Now … [illegible]… tells me that their recent advertisement for a classical analyst elicited no satisfactory replies; and I know personally that the market for statisticians is very tight everywhere. Mathematicians, after years of being in the wilderness, are currently in great demand. So I think it is very dangerous to assume that we can get a good statistician just like that, certainly at the lecturer level. But statisticians are pretty dreary types. Unless we are prepared, if necessary, to make the maths & stats chap a Senior Lecturer (in which case we might get recruits from the U.S. and Canada) then I am rather pessimistic.”[73]

Despite Lewis’ exhortation to his former Manchester colleague Lomak, the Mathematical Statistician’s position would not be filled. As it turned out, Davison proposed that he and Newman could take up the slack. Although the organizational, administrative and statutory merger—in keeping with the College’s Charter—of the Department of Economics and the Institute of Social and Economic Research did not occur, the staff of the department in 1959 – 1960 was now eleven with almost half that number holding joint appointments in the two departments:

William Arthur Lewis, B.Com., Ph.D. (Lond.), M.A. (Manc.), L.H.D. (Col.) – Professor of Political Economy and Titular Head of Department

Kenneth Ewart Boulding, M.A. (Oxon.) – Professor

Hastings Dudley Huggins, M.S. (Corn.), A.M., Ph.D. (Harv.) – Professor of Applied Economics

Michael Garfield Smith, B.A., Ph.D. (Lond.) – Senior Lecturer in Sociology

George Edward Cumper, M.A. (Cantab.), Ph.D. (Lond) – Lecturer in Economics

David Teify Edwards, B.Sc. (Wales), M.Sc. (R’dg.) – Lecturer in Economics

Lloyd Ewen Stuart Braithwaite, BA. (Lond.) – Lecturer in Sociology

Douglas Gordon Hawkins Hall, B.A. (Tor.), M.Sc. (Econ.), Ph.D. (Lond.) – Lecturer in Economic History

Peter Kenneth Newman, M.Sc. (Econ.) (Lond.) – Lecturer

Robert Barry Davison, B.Sc. (Econ.), Ph.D. (Lond.) F.R.E.S. – Lecturer

Francis Xavier Mark, M.A., Ph.D. (Edin.) – Lecturer in Political Institutions

Five of these were West Indian, six were economists. Carr-Saunders and the L.S.E. notion that the abode of the Economic Historian was not cast in stone was here recognized with the appointment of Douglas Hall, an economic historian, to the Department of Economics rather than History, although this was to change in later years. As both Carr-Saunders—in the beginning—and Lewis had suggested, Government and Sociology would for the time being reside in the Department of Economics. The issue of staffing, having more or less been settled for the moment, Lewis then focused on details of the programme of study, admission of students, teaching and examinations.

B.Sc. (Econ.) Programme: Admission to Graduation

Creating a university from scratch is, by any stretch of imagination, a complex task in itself. Creating a College of London University in the Caribbean, thousands of miles distant from Britain with the technologies of the late 1940s and 1950s was perhaps even more difficult. All substantive academic decisions had to be approved by London. Communications, transport, office tools and much more, made procedures which today we take for granted, appear in hindsight, extraordinarily tedious.[74] But truth be told, in the extant situation, the office pool at the U.C.W.I. was working with cutting edge technology!

Letters had to be copied by hand or re-typed and vetted for accuracy if they were to be circulated. No such thing as a photocopy existed, the word, or rather the notion computer, when used on occasion referred to research assistants (styled ‘computors’ by Huggins in the estimates) who manipulated statistical data with pencil, pen and ink and when necessary a mechanical calculator, no fax; e-mail would have been wonderful but existed perhaps only in Richard Feynman’s imagination![75] The remarkable thing is that, as evidenced by the meticulous documentation of the period, all the required tasks were done it appears, quite accurately, effectively and on a timely basis. Obviously, secretaries, messengers, gardeners—indeed all support staff—took their jobs seriously taking abundant pride in what and how they did.[76]

The process of designing and implementing the B.Sc. (Econ.) programme and a Faculty of Social Science faced all the aforementioned difficulties. With respect to academic matters such as entry qualifications relating to admission of students to the College, the problems were not much less. Faculty of Arts entry requirements differed from those of Social Sciences. Additionally no prior lower level certification, for instance General Certificate of Education, was available, as opposed say to that for tertiary level study of Literature or History, to determine the aptitude of entrants for Economics and any other social science subjects. And since the degree granting institution was University of London which offered both internal and external degrees, consistency among the requirements was mandatory. These practical difficulties and the level of indecision they created are plainly evidenced in the College’s communications to prospective students. 

The College published an advertisement in the newspapers of contributing territories around April 22nd 1959 under the caption: “Application for entry to the B.Sc. (Econ.) course in October 1959”. Following up on this, “A Note on the B.Sc. (Econ.) for Applicants to enter course in October, 1959” dated April 22nd 1959 [Appendix III] was also sent to prospective students. It indicated that it was not as yet decided whether they would be expected to satisfy additional Faculty of Arts requirements. Yet another letter to prospective applicants included the following:

“The candidate should have included among his subjects passes in two subjects which are languages other than English – one of which should be Latin or Greek. Up to and including the session commencing October 1961, however, a candidate may substitute English Language – (at credit Level or the equivalent) – or English Literature – (at ‘Principal’ subject level or the equivalent) – for either Latin or Greek or the other foreign language.

 As we have said in the note on the course, although we have not yet decided whether we should make the Faculty of Arts requirement compulsory for candidates, yet it might be wise for candidates to have the requirement since if they were to come to the College and were unable to cope with the B.Sc. (Econ.) course they would be able to transfer to an Arts course if they had the Faculty of Arts requirement. This advice does not mean that those without the additional requirement should not apply. ”[77]

Here we come face to face with the Eric Williams bugbear! [See endnote 67] The impact of affiliation to London, its prerequisites and curriculum made these requirements imperative. Even so, circa late 1950s for the West Indies, the Latin and Greek requirement was debatable. The irony or contradiction though, is that Eric Williams himself, C.L.R. James, Springer, Norman Manley, Grantley Adams and a host of others—all thought of as illustrious West Indian sons—benefited, [or should one express it as suffered] in their intellectual development, from this ‘classical’ imposition! Yet it does appear that this regimen was of some, dare one say even peripheral use.[78]

With these complexities and uncertainties compounded by the College’s multiple communications to prospective students, one would think candidates would be put off. They were not. Lewis was actually surprised at the number of applicants qualified for Faculty of Social Science entry responding to the advertisements. In an apparently quickly penned letter of July 3rd 1959 Lewis writes from New York:

“Dear Wynter,

I am amazed at the number of applicants for the B.Sc. (Econ.). I can think of no reason why we should not take all who are eligible and who can afford to come. This may work out at 30 or less. The number attending lectures does not matter. The problem is the small tutorial seminars. We have enough economists on the staff to handle 40. But if the number exceeds 20 we may have to arrange for some part-time tutorial work in Economic History and in Government during the first year, and to think seriously about more appointments in the second year.

Let’s just go ahead accepting the acceptable, and see how many turn up.”[79]

Wynter’s notation on Lewis’ letter for Registrar Springer’s review was: “I will now call Davison and Huggins together to decide on the acceptable.”[80] There were 48 applicants 36 of whom, after Wynter’s tripartite discussion, are noted as qualified—a decision was made on the ‘acceptable’. The list included 3 Nigerians and one Ghanaian.

But although in July 1959 Lewis advocated immediate acceptance of the ‘acceptable’ neither the curriculum nor the scheme of examinations and their timing was as yet finalized. Lewis had written to Professor Robbins pointing out that the College had agreed to adopt the structure of the new London degree which entailed the following:

Part I at the end of one year in three subjects

Part IIA, at the end of the second year in five subjects; and

Part IIB, at the end of the third year in the special subject.[81]

Lewis was proposing that the Part I syllabus be the same as London’s except that students should not be expected to have ‘knowledge of contemporary economic conditions in the United Kingdom’. Subsequent to a stream of correspondence between U.C.W.I. and London University, the final Prospectus/Regulations and notice to students in the Department of Economics of October 2, 1959 listed the B.Sc. (Economics) offering four ‘Special Subjects’: Economics (Analytical and Descriptive), Industry and Trade, Government and Sociology. All graduates would be awarded the degree B.Sc. (Econ.). The latter was an honours degree offered for the first time at the College, to be taken in two parts with final grade of honours determined by performance in Part II with the possibility of account being taken of special merit in Part I. Thirty six students registered for the degree.

While the regulations of October 2, 1959 would hold for those students first entering, Lewis still wished to have changes to the regulations to govern students entering in the first session of 1960. The difficulty facing U.C.W.I. was that London was changing the structure of its own internal degree. As late as May 1960 changes contemplated at L.S.E. had not been officially agreed. Robbins therefore wrote to Lewis suggesting that U.C.W.I. “… should proceed by getting interim authority for second and third year examinations on a plan most convenient to yourselves. … I could see no objection if the thing is acceptable to you why your new generation of students should not start with Part I next session. We have had such thorough discussions here before crystallizing out this way that I cannot believe that any scheme on similar lines put forward by you would encounter any opposition whatever. On the contrary, I would have thought that it would be authorised without delay.”[82]

The University of London’s extant practice was for examinations to be held in the first and third years of the three year degree programme. L.S.E. was attempting to change this. Lewis had written to Robbins pointing out that:

“The main difficulty in framing a permanent scheme is that we are impressed by the arguments for a first year examination and by arguments for a second year examination.

We need an examination at the end of the first year since this is the only way of finding out who is suitable for the social sciences, and which of the options fits individual aptitudes. This problem does not exist in Mathematics or French or other subjects where Higher School certificate marks can be used to settle the question. Since a first year examination has to be held, it might just as well be a formal university examination, rather than a College examination.

      I used to be strongly against a second year examination, for all the usual reasons, but 20 years of teaching without it has destroyed my confidence. The problem is that in a mixed degree like ours, the work of the third year does not flow naturally out of the work of the second year. An honours student in Economics should be able to devote practically the whole of his third year to various aspects of economics. What he has studied in his second year, however, is Politics, History, Sociology and the like. So throughout his third year he has to keep these going by re-reading his notes; or, more likely, he just allows them to slip out of his head until examination time.”[83]

The concern was whether there should be an examination in each of the three years. Lewis was leaning to the view that there should. If that was so, then it should just as well be a formal university examination and not a College examination. He sought Robbins opinion and guidance. The response was that such a proposal might encounter opposition and Robbins could not be sure of the outcome but advised that he proceed along the lines he thought best.[84] As it turned out, the College agreed to the old arrangement of two examinations, one each at the end of the first and third years.

A full-fledged Department of Economics and Faculty of Social Science could now be considered truly established. Teaching began in the B.Sc. (Econ.) with thirty six students registered.

Within the year—the first term of the 1960-1961 academic year—the Jamaica government was offering to finance 60 students, presenting a problem for the faculties. The staff complement was not enough to cover teaching requirements without going well beyond teaching norms. We see Lewis requesting members to take on heavier loads in places and reduce unnecessary teaching where he felt they existed. Boulding had spent only the one year—1959 – 1960—and Charles Kennedy had taken the vacated Professorship. Developments continued with funding from the Carnegie Foundation and United States Agency for International Development [USAID] assisting with business administration. In 1961 Lewis requests to be relieved of Headship of the Department, suggesting that it rotate between the two Professors every two years. Part-time teaching assistance had become the order of the day, particularly in Law and accounting. [Appendix VI] And with only one economic historian in the Department of Economics, student numbers in excess of the enrollment originally envisaged were proving difficult to cope with.

The Jamaican government, concerned with issues of Public and Business Administration, sought assistance from the United States ‘AID’ and engaged in continuing dialogue with the College to achieve implementation of programmes to provide training in these two areas. A Diploma in Public Administration and teaching in Business Administration was to take on importance in the Faculty. There was at this time a cordial relationship between the Government of Jamaica and the College in general and the new Faculty of Social Sciences in particular. The next stages for the Faculty and Department of Economics were preparation for the independent university, curriculum review and development.

By mid-1959 Council had already agreed that the University College of the West Indies was sufficiently ‘grown-up’ to become independent of London. They had settled arbitrarily, on the year 1963. It happened a bit earlier—on “April 2, 1962 the Charter creating the University of the West Indies was passed under the Great Seal of the Realm.”[85] In February of 1958, just a year before the decision to seek independence was taken by the College, the Chancellor had expressed her great pleasure and that of the Council at Professor Arthur Lewis’ willingness to accept the Chair if appointed.

She told Council that it was “… right that a University should be rooted in its own soil, but that it was necessary for it to be fertilized as widely as possible. She expressed the opinion that the older Universities were able to do that more easily and that in young Universities, there would be problems of adolescence. The College was in its adolescent stage and there should be constant vigilance against intolerance—only one intolerance should be allowed—that of second best. She said that there should be no consideration of colour, race, religion or politics in the making of appointments.”[86]

The words are those of Royalty—Princess Alice of Athlone. But yet, subsequently, students in protest burnt gowns, occupied the Chapel, the Student’s Union faced occupation as well. The West Indies—a composite society—indeed as a result of its being in reality a human creation/composition, is an area of perhaps unique complexity. Among the tasks of the Department of Economics and Faculty of Social Sciences was to attempt to understand it, to lay bare its inner economic, social and political apparatus and dynamic. Sherlock and Nettleford described the thinking of West Indians at the time:

“Only through education could the vision be transmitted, the task undertaken, to carry through the social process which Hugh Springer described as ‘the absorption of the majority into the way of life of the minority’; by education rooted in a new philosophy, designed to meet West Indian cultural and economic needs and guided by the findings of objective scholarly research.”[87]

The Department of Economics and Faculty of Social Sciences were thought to be vital to the effort aimed at this ‘absorption’—a widely held sentiment which Springer espoused. These developments—bringing home to the West Indies and West Indians, the capacity to undertake objective scholarly research, translating its results into teaching, exploring the underpinnings of West Indian economy, society, governance and culture—all became objectives that would form major goals of the new Faculty.

Economic development—still conceived of as Colonial Development at the time—was the more likely with greater understanding and knowledge of how these economies worked. Furthermore, whether political independence was thought to be possible only through Federation, or as it turned out, by way of separate independent states, a Faculty of Social Sciences, created in a University of “first rank”, embarking on the study of Caribbean economy and society was conceived as one of the necessary instruments in the thrust for development of the Caribbean people.

Appendix I

UWI Governance – Organization Chart

Appendix II

The B.Sc. (Econ.) degree as proposed by Morgan to Estimates Committee

Part I

Subject Year 1                                              Year 2


Principles            2 lectures/week                  2 lectures/week

Principles             3 classes/week                   3 classes/week

Applied               2 lectures/week                  2 lectures/week

Applied               3 classes/week                   3 classes/week

Tutorials              3 hours/week                      3 hours/week


Method                1 lecture/week                   1 lecture/week

Sources                1 lecture/week                   1 lecture/week

Classes                3 two-hour/week          3 two hour/week


Lectures               2 lectures/week                  2 lectures/week

Classes                3 two-hour/week          3 two-hour/week

Economic History

Lectures               2 lectures/week                  2 lectures/week

Classes                3 classes/week                   3 classes/week

Tutorials              3 hours/week                      3 hours/week

English Law

Legal Institutions

1 lecture/wk/2 terms  3 classes/wk/2 terms

Contract and Agency                                      1 lecture/wk

  (Industry & Trade Students)                        2 classes/wk

Constitutional Law                                         1 lecture/wk

  (Government Students)                                2 classes/wk

Part II                               Year 3 Industry and Trade

Business Administration                 2 lectures/week

Industry and Trade                           2 lectures/week

Labour                                              2 lectures/week

2 classes/week each student             4 to 6 classes/week

Tutorials                                          3 to 4 ours/week

Industrial visits                                 ½ day or 1 day/fortnight

Business Finance

 and Cost Control 1 lecture/week; 2 to 3 classes/week

Commercial Law  1 lecture/week/2 terms; 2 to 3 classes/week/2 terms

Appendix III

A Note on the B.Sc. (Econ.) for Applicants to enter course in October, 1959

  1. As at present planned, the B.Sc. (Econ.) course will be offered as a degree course in the Faculty of Arts.
  2. The course is a three year course.
  3. The Examination will be divided into two parts, Part I to be written at the end of the first two years and Part II to be written at the end of the third year.
  4. Subjects to be written in Part I will depend on the special subject chosen for Part II. However, all students will be required to attend the same courses in the first year, (1959-60) at the end of which a decision will be taken as to the courses for the second year, (1960-61) and the Part II subjects for the third year, (1961-62). Among the possible special subjects for Part II will be Economics – Analytical and Descriptive, Industry and Trade and Government.
  5. Part I of the Examination shall consist of eight papers, as follows:

(i) All candidates except those who propose to offer industry and Trade in Part II, are required to take the following six compulsory papers:

  • Principles of Economics,
  • Political History
  • Elements of Government
  • Applied Economics
  • Economic History
  • History of Political Thought

and two alternative papers selected from the following list according to the options which are permitted for the special subject which the candidate proposes to offer in Part II of the Final Examination:

  1. 1. Either: (a) Elementary Statistical Method and Sources

       Or          (b) Elementary Statistical Theory

       2. Mathematics

  1. 3. Accounting
  2. 4. Elements of English Law
  3. 5. Elements of Social Structure
  4. 6. An approved Modern Foreign Language (the examination in this will consist of two written papers and an oral test, although the whole is counted as ‘one paper’).

(ii) Candidates who propose to offer Industry and Trade in Part II will be required to take the following five compulsory papers:

(a) Principles of Economics

(b) Economic History

(c) History of Political Thought

(d) Applied Economics

(e) Elements of Government

and the following three alternative papers:

  1. Either    (a) Elementary Statistical Method and Sources

Or          (b) Elementary Statistical Theory

  1. Accounting
  2. Elements of English Law
  1. 6. Part II of the Examination will be in one special subject.
  2. 7. It has not yet been decided whether candidates for the B.Sc. (Econ.) course should satisfy the additional Faculty of Arts requirement. (Please see Pamphlet of information). However, candidates are advised that it would be wise to have such a requirement especially as some may wish or be advised to transfer to a B.A. (General) course including Economics, or to a B.A. (Hons.) course in another subject.
  3. 8. Students in the B.Sc. (Econ.) course will, of course, be bound by all other regulations in the Faculty of Arts and in the College affecting students (Please see pamphlet of information).
  4. 9. The cost of the course will be similar to the cost of a three-year course in Arts or in Science. An estimate of cost is as follows:
  5. 1. Tuition £20  -  -  a year
  6. 2. Caution money (if not a scholar)

           on entering the College                                    25  -  -

  1. 3. Matriculation fee     3  3  -
  2. 4. Examination fees - a total of           19   -  - for all examinations                                              5. Fees for Boarding & Lodging in term        150  -  -  per year
  3. 6. Cost for vacation:

               For non-Jamaicans in the first 2 years        95  -  -   “     “

                 “     “          final year                                 32  -  -   “     “

               For Jamaicans                                              32  -  -   “    “

  1. 7. Other items of maintenance including books,

                         pocket money etc.:

                         In first two years                              110  -  -   “     “

                         In third year                                      90  -  -   “     “

Note:       The estimates above are the estimates as revised since the Publication of the pamphlet of Information.

22nd April, 1959.

* An effort has been made to reproduce this note exactly as it appears in the ‘original’ stenciled document sent to Applicants. The costs are in 1959 Jamaican pounds shillings and pence.

Appendix IV

Advertisement for Lecturer and Senior Lecturer, University College of the West Indies 12 January 1959*

Applications are invited for the posts of (a) Senior Lecturer and (b) Lecturer in Economics. The duties of the posts will include teaching in Economics for the BA. (General) and teaching for the B.Sc. Special (Econ.)** degrees of the University of London. The person appointed will be expected to engage in research work.

The salary scales are:

(a)          £1500    x 75 - 2250

(b)          £1150    x 50 – 1450  x      75  -  1900

Entry point to be determined by qualifications and experience. Child allowance is paid. Superannuation is under F.S.S.U. arrangements. Unfurnished accommodation at rent 5% basic salary. Passages for up to 5 persons on appointment, normal termination and study leave (once every three years). Duties to be assumed by 1 September 1959.

Detailed applications (6 copies) naming referees by ??? to Secretary, Inter-University Council for Higher Education Overseas, 29 Woburn Square, London, W.C.1., from whom further particulars may be obtained.


Further particulars for applicants

In 1959, the year in which it is proposed to begin teaching for the Honours Degree in Economics, the department will consist of a Professor of Economics, 1 Senior Lecturer and 3 Lecturers and additional staff will be added in the following years as it is required. The syllabus for the B.A. (General) and that for the Honour [sic] degree of B.Sc. (Econ.) are based on those of the University of London. Under the scheme of Special Relationship, examination papers are set by a board of examiners appointed by the University of London, including members drawn from the University College as well as from the University of London. Under the Scheme it is possible to negotiate with the authorities of the University to secure modification of syllabuses to meet local needs.

Although teaching in Economics for the B.A. (General) Degree began only in October 1955 a considerable body of material in Economics and in other social sciences has been accumulated through the work of the Institute of Social and Economic Research since 1949. The Department of Economics closely collaborates with the I.S.E.R.

It is hoped that teaching for the B.Sc. Special** in Economics will begin in October 1959.

The Library Facilities are good.


* Draft document

** This is the terminology to which Lewis objected. It was changed before publication.

Appendix V – Original Syllabuses for the B.Sc. (Econ.) Degree [Draft May 1959]

Part I – Compulsory Subjects

  1. 1. Principles of Economics The principles of economics, including theories of population, production, value, distribution, money and banking, and international trade.
  1. 2. Applied Economics Applications of economic principles to the analysis of contemporary problems of production, trade, labour, money and public finance. A knowledge of the necessary background of economic geography is assumed.
  1. 3. Political History

Introductory Survey: State of the known world c 1450. The Renaissance – physical and intellectual expansion. Relations of exploration and commerce.

              Scientific enquiry in the 17thcentury State-systems and their consolidation: absolutism and benevolent despotism. Reasons for ‘an age of reason’.

              Political History of the Powers from 1789: The revolutionary principle and its impact on Europe. The idea of ‘nationality’. The idea of democracy. Right-wing consolidation in the 19th century. Impact of industrialism. Expansion of capital.

              Europe 1950 compared with Europe 1900: international relations, economic changes, military strength. Imperial ideas. Impact of Europe on other continents: western technology in Asia and Africa.

              20th century: impact of wars on the state-system. End – products of expansionism: cf. Egypt/West Indies/West Africa/Ceylon. The Great Powers: Russia and the United States contrasted as idealogical [sic] leaders.

  1. 4. Economic History “Outline of the economic organization of Western Europe up to the eighteenth century.

The international economy and European rivalries in the eighteenth century, with special reference to the Americas and the Caribbean Islands.

The Industrialization of Western Europe, the U.S.A., Russia and Japan in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Changes in the organization of agriculture, transport, banking, commerce and labour. Fluctuations in economic activity.

World trade in the nineteenth century, and the international movement of people and of capital. The expansion of primary producing countries. The colonial system.

Social aspects of economic development. The emergence of the “welfare state”.

Economic developments between the two world wars.

Economic development of West Indies since 1834.

  1. 5. Elements of Government As R.B 1958/9 p.1315 Paragraph 3(a) modified to read “Federal systems, with special reference to the West Indies.”
  1. 6. History of Political Thought As R.B 1958/9 p.1315

Appendix VI

Department of Economics Staff – U.C.W.I. Calendar for various years

Faculty of Arts: Members of Staff, Department of Economics


David John Morgan, B.Sc. (Econ.) (Lond.) – Senior Lecturer


David John Morgan, B.Sc. (Econ.) (Lond.) – Senior Lecturer

Eric Wyn Evans, M.A., Ph.D. (Wales) – Assistant Lecturer


David John Morgan, B.Sc. (Econ.) (Lond.) – Senior Lecturer

Peter Kenneth Newman, M.Sc. (Econ.) (Lond.) – Lecturer

Robert Barry Davison, B.Sc. (Econ.), Ph.D. (Lond.) F.R.E.S. – Lecturer


William Arthur Lewis, B.Com., Ph.D. (Lond.), M.A. (Manc.), L.H.D. (Col.) – Professor of Political Economy

Kenneth Ewart Boulding, M.A. (Oxon.) – Professor

Hastings Dudley Huggins, M.S. (Corn.), A.M., Ph.D. (Harv.) – Professor of Applied Economics

Michael Garfield Smith, B.A., Ph.D. (Lond.) – Senior Lecturer in Sociology

George Edward Cumper, M.A. (Cantab.), Ph.D. (Lond) – Lecturer in Economics

David Teify Edwards, B.Sc. (Wales), M.Sc. (R’dg.) – Lecturer in Economics

Lloyd Ewen Stuart Braithwaite, BA. (Lond.) – Lecturer in Sociology

Douglas Gordon Hawkins Hall, B.A. (Tor.), M.Sc. (Econ.), Ph.D. (Lond.) – Lecturer in Economic History

Peter Kenneth Newman, M.Sc. (Econ.) (Lond.) – Lecturer

Robert Barry Davison, B.Sc. (Econ.), Ph.D. (Lond.) F.R.E.S. – Lecturer

Francis Xavier Mark, M.A., Ph.D. (Edin.) – Lecturer in Political Institutions

Faculty of Social Sciences: Members of Staff, Department of Economics


William Arthur Lewis, B.Com., Ph.D. (Lond.), M.A. (Manc.), L.H.D. (Col.) – Professor of Political Economy

Hastings Dudley Huggins, M.S. (Corn.), A.M., Ph.D. (Harv.) – Professor of Applied Economics

Burton Seely Kierstead, B.A. (New Br. & Oxon.), LL.D. (New Br.) – Professor

Michael Garfield Smith, B.A., Ph.D. (Lond.) – Senior Lecturer in Sociology

Peter Kenneth Newman, M.Sc. (Econ.) (Lond.) – Senior Lecturer

George Edward Cumper, M.A. (Cantab.), Ph.D. (Lond) – Lecturer in Economics

David Teify Edwards, B.Sc. (Wales), M.Sc. (R’dg.) – Lecturer in Economics

Lloyd Ewen Stuart Braithwaite, BA. (Lond.) – Lecturer in Sociology

Douglas Gordon Hawkins Hall, B.A. (Tor.), M.Sc. (Econ.), Ph.D. (Lond.) – Lecturer in Economic History

Robert Barry Davison, B.Sc. (Econ.), Ph.D. (Lond.) F.R.E.S. – Lecturer

Alister McIntyre, B.Sc. (Econ.) (Lond.) Lecturer

Part-Time Lecturers:

Aston Zachary Preston, LL.B. (Lond.). F.A.A.C.C.A., A.C.C.S., FREconS. – Accountancy

George Arthur Brown, B.Sc., (Econ.) (Lond.) A.A.C.C.A.

H.D. Carberry, B.A., B.C.L (Oxon.)

Uriel H. Salmon, A.A.C.C.A., LL.B. (Lond.)

*Francis Xavier Mark, M.A., Ph.D. (Edin.) – Lecturer in Political Institutions, has transferred to the Department of Government.

Department of Government

Brian Chapman, M.A., D.Phil. (Oxon) - Professor

Gladstone Everard Maxwell Mills, B.Sc. (Econ.) (Lond.), MP.A. (Harv.) –  Associate Director of Training in Public Administration

Francis Xavier Mark, M.A., Ph.D. (Edin.) – Lecturer in Political Institutions

Ogilvie Milne Clarke Buchan, M.A. (Aberd.), B.A. (Oxon.) – Lecturer in Political Thought

Institute of Social and Economic Research

Hastings Dudley Huggins, M.S. (Corn.), A.M., Ph.D. (Harv.) – Director

Edwin Pieerce Reubens, M.A. Ph.D. (Col.) – Research Fellow

Lloyd Algernon Best, B.A. (Cantab.) – Junior Research Fellow

Edgar Roy Chang, B.Sc. (Econ.) (Lond.), M.A. (Econ.) Yale – Junior Research Fellow

James Bernard Kelly, B.A. (Melb.), M.Sc. (Econ.) (Lond.) – Junior Research Fellow

George Abbott, B.A. (Lond.), M.A. (Yale) – Junior Research Fellow


Dean: Professor Hastings Dudley Huggins, M.S. (Corn.), A.M., Ph.D. (Harv.)

Department of Economics

C.M. Kennedy, B.A., M.A. (Oxon.) – Professor

Hastings Dudley Huggins, M.S. (Corn.), A.M., Ph.D. (Harv.) – Professor of Applied Economics

  1. G. E. Cumper, M.A. (Cantab.), Ph.D. (Lond) – Senior Lecturer
  2. A. E. Mills, B.A. (Lond.), B.Com. (Lond.) M.Sc. (Econ.) (Lond.), A.B.I.M. – Senior Lecturer (Business Administration)
  3. D. T. Edwards, B.Sc. (Wales), M.Sc. (R’dg.), Ph.D. (Lond.) – Lecturer

M.A. McIntyre, B.Sc. (Econ.) (Lond.)

*R. B. Davison, B.Sc. (Econ.), Ph.D. (Lond.) – Lecturer

Part-Time Lecturers:

  1. A. Z. Preston, LL.B. (Lond.). F.A.A.C.C.A., A.C.C.S., – Book-keeping

H.D. Carberry, B.A., B.C.L (Oxon.) – Law

E.C. George, B.A., B.C.L. (Oxon.) – Law

  1. U. H. Salmon, A.A.C.C.A., LL.B. (Lond.) – Accounting

H.J. Hardy-Henry, A.A.C.C.A., A.C.I.S., A.A.I.A. – Accounting

* On study leave 1961-62

Department of Sociology

  1. W. A. Lewis, B.Com., Ph.D. (Lond.), M.A. (Manc.), L.H.D. (Col.) – Professor

+M. G. Smith, B.A., Ph.D. (Lond.) – Senior Lecturer

  1. L. E. S. Braithwaite, B.A. (Lond.) – Senior Lecturer

G.W. Roberts, B.Sc. (Lond.) –  Senior Lecturer (Demography)

Department of Government

Professor             - Vacant

G.E.M. Mills, B.Sc. (Econ.) (Lond.), MP.A. (Harv.) – Senior Lecturer (Associate Director of Training in Public Administration)

D.R. Manley, A.B. (Col.), M.A. (Lond.), Ph.D. (Liv.) – Senior Lecturer (Social Administration)

F.X. Mark, M.A., Ph.D. (Edin.) – Lecturer in Political Institutions

Appendix VII

Universities in the British Empire from Ancient to Modern Times*

1167 – Oxford University established

1172 – Cambridge University established

> 200 years – Oxford and Cambridge the only universities in the English speaking world

> 600 years – Oxford and Cambridge the only universities in England

15th and 16th Centuries 4 universities founded in Scotland, 1 in Ireland

1638 – Harvard University founded

8 Universities existed in the British Empire until 2nd quarter of the 19th Century

1832 – Durham University established

1836 – London University established—a Federation of 33 self-governing schools and 13 Institutes, initially an examining institution until 1900 when it began offering instruction. Students normally studied for London external degrees at affiliated University Colleges

Pre World II - 7 ‘Civic’ or provincial Universities (‘Red Brick’) created: Newcastle (a division of Durham until 1963), Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Bristol

Post World War II – 8 Universities founded: Keele, Sussex, East Anglia, Essex, Lancaster, Kent, Warwick (the first new University allowed to grant its own Degrees upon establishment). Of this group only Keele predates 1960.

Colleges created in the Colonies: West Indies, East and Central Africa.

* Sources:

Burn, Barbara, B.: “Higher Education in Nine Countries, A Comparative Study of Colleges and Universities Abroad”, N.Y. McGraw Hill, 1971.

Caine, Sidney: “British Universities, Purpose and Prospects”, Toronto University Press, 1969.

Carmichael: “Universities: Commonwealth and American”, N.Y. Harper Bros., 1959.

Great Britain, Parliament, House of Commons: “Report of the Committee on Higher Education”, Cmd. 2154. HMSO, October 1963.


Aronowitz, Stanley [2000] “The Knowledge Factory”, Boston: Beacon Press.

Birnbaum, Robert [2000] “Management Fads in Higher Education”, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Braithwaite, Lloyd [1958] “The Development of Higher Education in the West Indies”, Social and Economic Studies, Vol. VII, No. 1.

Burn, Barbara, B. [1971] “Higher Education in Nine Countries, A Comparative Study of Colleges and Universities Abroad”, New York: McGraw Hill.

Caine, Sidney [1969] “British Universities, Purpose and Prospects”, Toronto: Toronto University Press.

Carmichael, [1959] “Universities: Commonwealth and American”, New York: Harper Bros.

Carr-Saunders, Alexander M. [1961] “New Universities Overseas”, London: George Allen and Unwin.

Cudjoe, Selwyn R. [1993] “Eric E. Williams Speaks: Essays on Colonialism and Independence”, Massachusetts: Calaloux Publications, Wellesley.

Emmanuel, Patrick [1994] “Sir William Arthur Lewis – Collected Papers 1941 –1988”, Bridgetown, Cave Hill: ISER.

Great Britain, Colonial Office [June 1945] “Report of The West Indies Committee of the Commission on Higher Education in the Colonies”, London: HMSO, Cmd. 6654 – [The Irvine Committee Report].

Great Britain, Colonial Office [July 1945] “West India Royal Commission Report”, London: HMSO, Cmd. 6607 – [Moyne Commission Report].

Great Britain, Parliament, House of Commons [October 1963] “Report of the Committee on Higher Education”, London: Cmd. 2154. HMSO.

Hintzen, Percy [1991] “Arthur Lewis and the Development of Middle Class Ideology”, in Premdas and St Cyr (eds.): “Sir Arthur Lewis: An Economic and Political Portrait”, Kingston Jamaica: ISER, UWI Mona.

Jamaica Task Force on Tertiary Education [June 1986] “Report of the Task Force on Tertiary Education”, Kingston: – Phillip M. Sherlock, Chairman.

Kennedy, Donald [1997] “Academic Duty”, Cambridge Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

Lindsay, Louis [1981] “The Myth of a Civilizing Mission: British Colonialism and the Politics of Symbolic Manipulation”, Working Paper # 31, Kingston: ISER, UWI Mona.

La Guerre, John [1991] “Arthur Lewis and the Moyne Commission”, in Premdas and St Cyr (eds.): “Sir Arthur Lewis: An Economic and Political Portrait”, Kingston: ISER, UWI Mona.

Lewis, L. J. [1954] “Educational Policy and Practice in British Tropical Areas”, London: Thomas Nelson & Sons.

Parker, Paul [1971] “Change and Challenge in Higher Education: The Development of the University of the West Indies and the University of Puerto Rico”, Ph.D.  Dissertation, Florida: Florida State University.

Sherlock, P. M. & Nettleford, R. M. [1990] “The University of the West Indies – A Caribbean response to the challenge of change”, London: Macmillan Caribbean.

Smith, Courtney [March 1983]: “Background Data on the History and Teaching of the Department of Economics”, Kingston: Mimeo, Faculty of Social Sciences, 21st Anniversary Conference.

Springer, H. W. [1953] “On Being a West Indian”, Kingston: Caribbean Quarterly, Vol. 3 No. 3, December pp. 181-183.

Taylor, T. W. J. [ND Circa 1950] “The University College of the West Indies”, Kingston: Caribbean Quarterly, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 4-15.

Whyte, Millicent [1977] “A Short History of Education in Jamaica”, London: Hodder and Stoughton.

Williams, Eric [1942] “The Negro in the Caribbean”, Westport Connecticut: Negro Universities Press.

Williams, Eric [1955] “My Relations with the Caribbean Commission, 1943-1955”, a June 21, public lecture at the ‘University Of Woodford Square’, Port of Spain, Trinidad, Cudjoe op. cit.

Williams, Eric [1969]: “Inward Hunger – The Education of a Prime Minister”, London: Andre Deutsch, London.

Williams, Eric: “The University in the Caribbean in the late 20th Century, 1980-1999”, Port-of Spain: PNM Publishing Co. [Williams wrote the section on the Caribbean for a symposium on “The Role of the University in the late Twentieth Century”. Editors of the volume are Michael Stephens and Gordon W. Roderick, Institute of Extension Studies, University of Liverpool.]


[*] I wish to acknowledge the considerable assistance provided by Elizabeth Williams and her staff at the UWI Archives as well as the Librarians of the West Indies Collection, UWI Main Library. I have benefited from comments of Steve DeCastro, Alfred Francis, Claremont Kirton, Michael Witter, Karl Watts, Hilary Beckles and Carl Campbell. Errors of whatever kind are my sole responsibility.

[1] Sherlock & Nettleford, p. 3. First Principal, Thomas Weston James Taylor, was Fellow of Brasemere College, Oxford, Biochemist and formerly Scientific Advisor to Lord Mountbatten and the South East Asia Command.

[2] Indeed, Carr-Saunders notes that … “After emancipation a number of schemes were propounded; one for a university in Jamaica was due to a Baptist missionary, Phillippo by name, who had full faith in the capacity of Africans for university education.” [New Universities Overseas, p. 27]

[3] Moyne, p. 92. In 1926, the West Indian Colonies established a Standing Conference to consider introduction of higher education. In 1929 the first West Indian Conference urged further consideration of establishing a university and in 1930, Sir James Currie and Mr. Sedgwick reported to London in support of the proposal. Jamaica made official and quasi-official efforts in 1938 and 1943, Barbados also in 1943 considered expanding the Codrington College Curriculum and also in the 1940s the University Of London Association Of British Guiana sent a Memorandum to the Colonial Office advocating provision of higher education in the West Indies.

[4] Sherlock and Nettleford, p. 2.

[5] Lewis, W.A. in “Collected Papers Vol. I”, Patrick Emmanuel (ed.) 1994, p. xxxi.

[6] Sherlock and Nettleford, p. 5.

[7] Braithwaite, L.: “The Development of Higher Education in the British West Indies” at page 1 notes that  “The European settlements in the Western world tended to be of a different character according to whether settlements were predominantly European or not. Where Europeans predominated, the effort was made to re-create on new soil the civilization and culture, purged sometimes of the excrescences considered harmful, to which they were accustomed.” Braithwaite also points out with respect to the West Indies that “The small number of resident whites … did not prevent an assertion of traditional rights, of the doctrine that Englishmen carried with them their free laws wherever they went, but this doctrine led in fact to an assertion of privilege rather than the development of an organic social life. The very smallness of the white community inhibited development which was further retarded when the success of the sugar industry encouraged a high degree of absenteeism and thus weakened even further the social life of the few whites.” p.2.

[8] The members of the Committee were: Sir James Irvine, Vice-Chancellor of the university of St. Andrews—Chairman; Margery Perham, Fellow of Nuffield College and Reader in Colonial Administration, University of Oxford; Raymond Priestly, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham; Hugh Springer, Barrister-at-Law and member of the Barbados House of Assembly; and Philip Sherlock, Secretary of the Institute of Jamaica. Joseph Luckhoo, Barrister-at-Law and Member of the Executive and Legislative Council, British Guiana and W.D. [Billy] Innis, of Queens Royal College [QRC], Trinidad, served as non-permanent members of the Committee.

[9] Parker, Paul: “Change and Challenge in Caribbean Higher Education”; emphasis added. Parker’s reference to ‘a university in the tropics’ is a bit puzzling. Perhaps he identifies the ‘tropics’ with the colonies. His view of a ‘generous action’ is obviously also, at conflict with that of provision of a university as a ‘… practical and expedient means to an end to British colonial control and responsibility.

[10] Carr-Saunders “New Universities Overseas”, p.28

[11] ibid. p.17.

[12] ibid. p.31, emphases added. Carr-Saunders obvious contempt for both the intellectual capacity and effort displayed by Colonial administrators mirrors that of several West Indians who have commented on this problem including novelist George Lamming among others.

[13]We consider that the establishment of institutions of collegiate rank is an entirely laudable object to be pursued when funds are available”. Moyne, op.cit. p.103.

[14] Eric Williams paints this picture most graphically: “The Caribbean islands are distinguished by an enormously high incidence of preventable diseases, many of them directly traceable to malnutrition. Malaria, hookworm, tuberculosis, venereal diseases, wreak havoc with the Negro population. …. the official picture of conditions in Trinidad describes every adult above the age of 20 years as affected by deficiency diseases, and the working life of the population reduced by at least one-half ... the major curse of the area is hookworm. Hookworm is essentially a problem firstly of nutrition, secondly of sanitation. The larva of the hookworm lives in excrement. In dry places, its life is forty-eight hours, in wet anything up to three weeks. Inadequate food renders the Negro peculiarly susceptible to this disease which is produced by defecation in the fields, and is commonest around exposed and insanitary latrines. The larva enters through the pores of the feet. The barefooted Negro therefore has no protection against this disease. Latrines are located far from the place of work, too far for an emergency; many of the filthy dwellings in which the Negroes live are not provided with latrines, or at best with communal latrines, cesspits, the stench of which is unbearable.” [Emphasis added] Eric Williams: “The Negro in the Caribbean”, pp. 34-35. Williams’ view of his difficulties with and ultimate separation from the Caribbean Commission had to do with the Governor of the Leeward Islands’ discomfort with exposure of the uncomfortable truths of West Indian conditions embodied in this work. He also suggests that his not having a place on the staff of the U.C.W.I. could, at least in part, be traced both to this work and perhaps more importantly his attitude of stridently exposing the barbaric impact of colonial exploitation and racism on the West Indian population. He highlighted an element of the British attitude to these problems by quoting an aristocrat of ‘British oil’ who, sitting in the House of Lords “… asked complacently whether Trinidad is ‘the only place where there are bad houses, no roads, no water, no sewage?’ ”

[15] See Lindsay, Louis: “The Myth of a Civilizing Mission: British Colonialism and the Politics of Symbolic Manipulation”, where it is argued that “… it was widely conceded at both Whitehall and Westminster that the British people were increasingly losing interest in colonial affairs … Colonialism, many argued, was being eroded not so much from without as from within.” p. 1.

[16] Lewis, W. Arthur: “Colonial Development”, Manchester Statistical Society, 1949. Lewis in this piece cites racism as one of the clear retardants to colonial development: “… largely for racial reasons, … mining companies have not trained Africans as technicians, or prepared to take them on to the Board of Directors. The plantation companies have not used any natives except as manual and clerical workers. The commercial firms have been just as exclusive. Indeed the Colonial Governments themselves, in spite of their protestations of trusteeship, have set the example; it was only in 1942 that the regulations prohibiting Africans from acceptance for administrative services in West Africa were withdrawn, and then only because the war-time talk about democracy shamed the Colonial Office into its withdrawal.” The attitudes embodied in these policies are of myriad geneses—as in thoroughly discredited biological theses of racial inferiority/superiority, workable systems of profit generation linking rewards to control and assimilation among others. Survival of these attitudes cannot be thought of as absolutely imperiled, or indeed cauterized by the decision to introduce tertiary education to the West Indies. But they certainly could no longer be made explicit in any clearly stated way.

[17] The British Government’s review of its attitude to ‘responsibility’ for the Colonies included a 1943 Commission Report on adult and mass education in Africa which speaks of the goal of improving health and living standards, economic opportunities and ultimately effective self-government. Education had a critical role to play in all this. The Commissioners outlined the latter in this way: “A man may be healthy though illiterate. He may be prosperous without being learned. He may, while still almost entirely ignorant of the wider duties of a citizen, live and, indeed, enjoy life under a government which provides him with security and justice. All these things may, in a measure, be true, but it is far truer that the general health of the whole community, its general well-being and prosperity, can only be secured and maintained if the whole mass of the people has a real share in education and has some understanding of its meaning and purpose.”, Mass Education in African Society, Col. No. 186, H.M.S.O., 1943.

[18] Sherlock and Nettleford, p. 11.

[19] Irvine Report p. 10.

[20] In the mid 18th Century, Christopher Codrington had founded a college in Barbados. It was affiliated for many years to Durham University. In 1921, I.C.T.A. was created in Trinidad to “… provide instruction and conduct research in tropical agriculture” [Irvine p. 10] Serving the entire Colonial Empire, most of its students came from the West Indies. It offered a Diploma course and post-graduate Associateships in agriculture and sugar technology. Its governing body was based in London. This institution indeed provided the kernel of the U.W.I.’s St. Augustine Campus in 1962 (?)

[21] Irvine pp. 10-11.

[22] Irvine p. 15 supports this view. “It must not be assumed that a West Indian youth, living possibly upon very small means in lodgings in some large city and attending lectures, is necessarily laying up a rich store of culture or strengthening either his character or physique for his coming work in life. We believe that if West Indian students could work together in surroundings of dignity and beauty, living in close community with each other and with teachers of the highest intellectual quality, and enjoying all the cultural and athletic activities possible in such conditions, they would develop fully, not only as individuals, but as West Indians. Many of them might thus so strengthen their desire to serve their own people that it would not weaken when they went on to complete and broaden their experience overseas. This is perhaps, the only means by which the present divisions and insularities can be broken down. It must be remembered that barriers exist not only as between the colonies but as between the races within some of the colonies. These divisions are of the most obstinate kind and the most hindering to the development of a healthy polity. There is, perhaps no atmosphere in which inter-racial cooperation and friendship is more possible than that of a residential university, and the association thus formed might powerfully influence for good the future development of some of these composite societies.” [Emphasis added] This short passage embodies the core elements required for a deeper understanding of what later social thinkers encapsulated in their discussion of the concepts: ‘plural society”, ‘clientelism’, ‘family and colour’ and the like, in efforts to come to terms with the dynamics of Caribbean social and economic reality. The interactive dynamics here are thoroughly interesting, even though perhaps to some puzzling, or yet to others unbridled idealism! Whereas Eric Williams would have stressed the desire on the part of the Imperial Government for “Cultural dominationreflecting the basic metropolitan philosophy of colonialism as serving primarily for the transmission of western culture and learning and the subordination of indigenous values, customs and languages”, Irvine, even if one should insert the qualification ‘despite their provenance’, found it impossible to perform consciously and solely to their ‘Masters’ Voice’!

[23] Ibid. p. 11

[24] ibid. p. 11, emphasis added.

[25] Ibid. p. 11. “The cost of a single university will be considerable, particularly if the opportunities provided for teaching and research are to attain the standards we consider to be essential. The alternative suggestion that in association with a central university the major faculties should be allocated to separate colleges situated in different islands is almost unworkable. Inevitably duplication of teaching would develop in the federated colleges and the necessity would always remain to provide a centralized organization and an administrative and academic building. The scheme would defeat the first purpose of a university and its adoption would lead to costly failure.

Any attempt to make each one of several geographically separate institutions concentrate upon a single branch of learning and thereby function as a constituent part of a single university, would be most unsatisfactory. It would not solve even the transport problem…  [Irving p. 14] “Any such experiment would inevitably break down since each of the larger colonies would certainly endeavour to round out its own limited functions in an inadequate and expensive attempt to be comprehensive.

Apart from financial considerations there are other important factors to which we must refer. It is our belief, one which has the support of world-wide tradition and experience, that the essence of a university is that it should be a community of men and women pursuing a wide range of studies, humane and scientific, so that a continuous process of mutual education and intellectual broadening goes on, outside as well as inside the lecture rooms and laboratories. The teachers, too, need the give-and-take of this intellectual communion in relationship with one another and with the students.

Our main objection to such decentralization, then, is that it would mean three or four institutions of inferior standing rather than one of the first rank. It will be necessary to concentrate all the available financial and intellectual resources, Imperial and West Indian, at one centre in order that the building, the equipment, the staff and student body shall all be of the quality to make a first-class university and we believe that that and no less is the real ambition of the people of the West Indies” [Irvine, p. 15]

[26] Sir Raymond Firth, the New Zealand-born L.S.E. anthropologist, was concerned that post-war planning for Britain’s colonies would be hampered by a lack of information about society and economy. His idea of gathering this information led to creation of the Colonial Social Science Research Council in 1944. He was named its secretary. After the war the Colonial Office on recommendations of the Council established Research Institutes in the colonies of East, West and Central Africa and the West Indies. These were all funded under the Colonial Development and Welfare Act. Professor Firth was one of the L.S.E. Advisory Committee that supervised the fieldwork for Edith Clarke’s “My Mother Who Fathered Me”.

[27] Sherlock to Council, Report of 1959-1960

[28] F&GPC Minute 358, 18 December, 1957

[29] The Committee comprised Principal Dr. W.W. Grave, Vice-Principal and Director of Extra-Mural Studies, Mr. P.M. Sherlock, Profs. G.F. Asprey, A.K. Croston, C.H. Hassall, M. Sandmann, Dr. H.D. Huggins and Mr. H.W. Springer, Registrar as Secretary. 

[30] Senate Paper: S.P. 70, 1953/54

[31] Senate Paper: S.P. 18, 1954/55, para. 1.

[32] ibid.

[33] ibid. para. 2. The Penson Committee, appointed by the Inter-University Council for Higher Education in the Colonies, paid a March visitation to the U.C.W.I. for an assessment of the College. Committee members were Dame Lillian Penson, former Vice Chancellor of the University of London, Chairperson, Sir Irvine Masson, former Vice Chancellor of the University of Sheffield and J.D. Boyd, Professor of Anatomy, University of Cambridge.

[34] The CD&W recurrent grant for ISER for the period September 1st 1953 to March 31st 1956 was £67,000. The likelihood of its continuance at the then existing scales was questionable.

[35] ibid.

[36] ibid. para. 2; emphasis added.

[37] Penson Committee para. 72.

[38] Senate Paper: S.P. 18, 1954/55, page 3.

[39] Carr-Saunders served as L.S.E.’s Director from 1937 to 1957. Initially taking a first in Zoology at Oxford, he went on to Law and local representative politics. He preferred the Social Sciences, doing pioneering work in demography. An influential and highly regarded Director, he was closely associated with University development in the British colonies and Sudan. Evidently, from this one letter of response to Croston that follows, he was altogether ‘comfortable’ in the range of Social Science disciplines.

[40] Croston to Carr-Saunders 1st April 1955. Copied to all members of staff Faculty of Arts April 4th. UWI Archives, MA 92.1, D19

[41] Sir Alexander Carr-Saunders to the Dean Faculty of Arts, May 02, 1955, UWI Archives, MA 92.1, D19

[42] ibid. p.2.

[43] ibid. p.3. This letter, as many of the others referenced, had to be copy-typed for circulation; the typographical error may have crept in as it was re-typed.

[44] D.J. Morgan to the Registrar, January 10th 1956; emphases added. UWI Archives, MA 92.1, D19

[45] D.J. Morgan to Preston, August 28th 1956, UWI Archives, MA 92.1, D19

[46] ibid. pp. 3-4.

[47] D.J. Morgan to the Principal, November 23rd 1956, UWI Archives, MA 92.1, D19

[48] ibid.

[49] Principal Grave’s letter to Morgan November 27th 1956. The notation on the archived copy, in his own hand, reads: “Bursar, for your records. W.W.G. 28/xi”; UWI Archives, MA 92.1, D19

[50] W. Arthur Lewis to Acting Registrar U.C.W.I., May 19th 1958; UWI Archives, MA 92.1, D19. (Lewis refers to the Institute of Social and Economic Research – the authentic title – as the Institute of Economic and Social Research)

[51] Note by Registrar of Conversation with Professor Lewis  31 January 1959, UWI Archives, MA 92.1, D19

[52] Lewis to Springer, January 19th 1959; UWI Archives, MA 92.1, D19

[53] Ibid.

[54] Lewis to Springer February 6th 1959, enclosure A. UWI Archives, MA 92.1, D19

[55] Lewis to Kenneth S. Lomak, 2 February 1959; UWI Archives, MA 92.1, D19

[56] ibid. Lomak’s area of concentration was Economic Statistics. He did not make the transfer. It appears that at the time of this letter, Lewis was not yet appointed Principal of the College, hence his comment about moving ‘without promotion’.

[57] Lewis to Anne Riddell, London Representative, University of Khartoum, 19th April, 1960; UWI Archives, MA 92.1, D19. Newman left the Department in 1961 first to take up an appointment at Johns Hopkins University then as Professor of Economics at the University of Michigan [University College of the West Indies, Principal’s Report 1960-1961, Printed by City Printery Ltd., 2 Torrington Road, Kingston; UWI Archives, MA 96.2]. That Lewis’ high opinion of Newman was well founded was to be demonstrated by his subsequent work and his being chosen as joint editor, with Eatwell and Milgate, of Palgrave’s Dictionary of Economics.

[58] Morgan to Registrar Springer, 6th March 1959; emphasis added. UWI Archives, MA 92.1, Box 128.

[59] Finance and General Purposes Committee, 7/6/59, Minute 260; UWI Archives, MA 92.1, D19

[60] Finance and General Purposes Committee, 14/3/59, Minute 123; UWI Archives, MA 92.1, D19

[61] Finance and General Purposes Committee, 14/3/59, Minute 124; UWI Archives, MA 92.1, D19

[62] This description of Preston should in no way be interpreted as any lack of appreciation on his part, of the nature of the enterprise upon which they were embarked. His voice, procedurally, is simply not generally heard in the archival materials because of his role as Secretary with responsibility always for handling the College’s finances. Furthermore, he did not exhibit the penchant, as did Springer, of penning notations to his correspondence. Indeed, if one were to project backwards from his period of tenure as Vice Chancellor of the U.W.I. it would be difficult if not imprudent to perceive his role as merely that of ‘counting the beans’! But alas, we might only pronounce on the available evidence.

[63] Lewis, W. Arthur: “Autobiographical Note”,

[64] Robbins was readily willing to share with Lewis, confidential and unsettled deliberations about curricula and examinations among the L.S.E. Faculty.

[65] At the Caribbean Commission in the late 1940s, a panel of experts was engaged on a study of industrial development of the area. Williams points out in his “My Relations with the Caribbean Commission, 1943-1955”: “One member of the panel was British, another Dutch, while the co-ordinator was French; they brought to bear on the question the traditional metropolitan hostility to colonial industrialisation. The report took years to complete. Before it was finished, I succeeded in getting Arthur Lewis, the distinguished West Indian economist, appointed as a consultant to the Secretariat to study industrialisation in Puerto Rico and make recommendations for the British West Indies. Dr. Lewis took three months, over the study, which cost little more than a single month’s salary for the French coordinator…

[66] Quite contrary to this view, Lewis in the late 1960s and early 1970s was regarded by students at the UWI as a “Roast Breadfruit” – the equivalent to Fanon’s “Black Skin White Masks”. Not surprisingly, for Lewis’ work was not on the recommended reading list and as a student the author recalls Lewis described as a “House Slave” by prominent Social Science faculty. All this has changed with time. Hintzen argues that Lewis’ ‘anti-imperialist credentials have been under attack’ particularly for advocating foreign investment, while La Guerre suggests that Lewis, like Grantley Adams, Norman Manley and others, could not possibly avoid being critical of colonialism given their generational moment as ‘nationalist intellectuals’. See Premdas and St Cyr. Hilary Beckles private correspondence suggests that he “would like to consider that there was a major contest over the core ownership of ‘development discourse’. Lewis received a radical reputation as an Economic Historian while maintaining a conservative one as an Economist. This is fascinating and speaks to the gap that existed between theory and planning for development”. My take on this is an erroneous twinning of Lewis’ development prescription with flawed implementation of his industrialization strategy. In discourse with students I use the analogy of the architect and engineer whose plans are accepted but blueprints for which are abandoned as construction takes place! When the building collapses they are immediately blamed for improper conception and design.

[67] Eric Williams held strong views on this question as it related to Caribbean University developments. “Cultural domination … [he argued, results from the attachment to the metropolitan countries] … reflecting the basic metropolitan philosophy of colonialism as serving primarily for the transmission of western culture and learning and the subordination of indigenous values, customs and languages. …. Almost incredibly, notwithstanding the voluminous evidence of the unwisdom of this policy especially in India, the Asquith Commission and its West African and West Indian subsidiaries appointed after World War II to consider the question of University developments in those colonial areas, opted for the imitation of British residential universities affiliated to London University for examination purposes, and therefore cribb’d, cabin’d and confin’d within the London curriculum – that is to say compulsory Latin, and Anglo Saxon and Middle English in the English Literature curriculum. A mere 14 years after inauguration of the University of the West Indies in 1948, independence came to the Commonwealth Caribbean in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. The absurdity of the non-independent colonial university tied to the apron strings of a metropolitan mother was apparent even to the most dyed in the wool imperialist, and the Trinidad and Tobago five year old campaign against affiliation resulted in independence of the University of the West Indies in 1962.” [Williams, E.: “The University in the Caribbean in the late 20th Century, 1980-1999” p. 6.] It should be noted however, that the 1954 Penson Committee Report seems to concede this need for an independent University fully three years before the ‘Trinidad and Tobago five year old campaign against affiliation’ began. The Penson Committee in 1954 stated: “… in the first instance, that the College has, in our view, made a most remarkable beginning. Its six years have resulted in the establishment of an institution which bids fair to make its mark in the University world. … We have emphasized the excellence of the research in the humanities, in pure and applied science and in medicine which is being undertaken at the College. We have emphasized too the importance of the fact that in the course of the promotion of their research the members of the College have had an admirable regard to the special conditions and needs of the West Indies. … The College is entering upon one of the most critical periods of its history. … It has come into being to some extent piecemeal to meet the specific needs of the region. It must pass through at the next stage a period of consolidation in which the balance of its activities is reviewed and in which growth is essential. Without this growth the high purposes for which the College was founded are bound to be defeated. The stage which has been passed so far is a preliminary stage. It has been a very successful introduction to what is going to be, as we indeed hope, a future of great significance. When the right time comes the College will develop into the University of the West Indies, and it will be the focal point for intellectual development of the whole area. It will be, we are confident, a place at which men and women will be trained who will prove themselves capable of taking responsibility, not only in connection with their own professions, but also in connection with the whole political and economic development of the West Indies.” Sherlock and Nettleford, p. 41-42, emphases added. Perhaps the Williams and Penson notion of the ‘right time’ was the differentiating factor! Additionally perhaps, the tenor of ‘apprenticeship/tutelage’ evident in these discourses may have been the red flag to Williams’ bull! Note the reference to both ‘men and women’ which though not unique in the period, is nevertheless rare. It is also interesting that Moyne, discussing education in general, noted that “Curricula are on the whole ill-adapted to the needs of the large mass of the population and adhere far too closely to models which have become out of date in the British practice from which they were blindly copied.” On this score Sparrow’s “Dan is the Man in the Van” is a classic West Indians would no doubt recall.

[68] Williams memorandum was later amended and published as “Education in the British West Indies” with a foreward in which John Dewey described the work as “a case study of a world problem

[69] Chair of Economics, Senate Paper referring to F&GPC Minute 124, 14/3/59, MA 92.1, D19. Interestingly enough, Lewis in 1959, did what today’s Ivy League universities in the U.S.A. regard as standard practice! Ranking academics are routinely approached with offers independent of ‘normal’ procedures.

[70] Sherlock & Nettleford, p.41.

[71] Principal W.W. Grave reported this to Senate reading into the record an extract from the Nuffield trustees: “… The trustees have been much impressed by the progress which your College has made during its early years and, as a tribute to its considerable achievements during this period, and as a measure of help to the development of its life and work during the next critical phase, the Foundation wishes to offer the College a capital grant of £50,000.

            “Mindful of the vital necessity for any university institution to have its own endowments so that it may enjoy that measure of academic freedom without which it cannot develop healthily, and to enable it to undertake, from time to time, experimental developments – the absence of which is gravely stultifying – the Foundation wishes to propose that its grant should constitute an endowment Fund, the capital of which should be invested and preserved intact but the income of which could be used by the College Council to finance pilot projects whose success or failure might be expected to become apparent after two or three years. It is suggested that the progress of any project so assisted might be reviewed at the end of each quinquennium in the hope that, if it had proved successful, its future financing should be secured from other sources. The choice of the projects would be a matter entirely in the discretion of the College Council without emphasis on any particular field of study; but the Foundation would be interested if it could be informed, from time to time, of the way in which the Fund is being used.” Senate Minute 54, November 4, 1954.

[72] Both Newman and Davison had communicated to the Dean of Arts as well as the Registrar on this issue.

[73] Newman to Senior Assistant Registrar, Hector Wynter, March 3rd, 1959, UWI Archives, MA 92.1, D19.

[74] Lewis’ letters to Springer, written with fountain pen and ink sometimes came on ‘Air Letter’ forms!

[75] Feynman, Richard: “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom: An Invitation to Enter a New Field of Physics”; a talk at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society 29th Dec. 1959. In “Engineering and Science”, Feb. 22nd 1960.

[76] Sherlock and Nettleford, …

[77] Senior Assistant Registrar Wynter to prospective students, April 1959, UWI Archives, MA 92.1, D19; emphasis added. Though omitted from highlight thus far, virtually all extant dispatches, communications and correspondence come across, almost invariably refer to the masculine gender. Yet the College charter speaks of men and women. And females were core participants in and contributors to some of the vital deliberations surrounding the College’s creation and virtually, existence. Oxford’s Reader in Colonial Administration Margery Perham was a member of the original Irvine Committee; Dame Lillian Penson headed the Inter-University Council’s Committee of Visitors assessing performance of the College from inception to the time of their 1954 visit.

[78] Williams himself recounts in his book “Inward Hunger: The Education of a Prime Minister”, that he told the Oxford Don who dared to question his intellectual capacity by wondering how he could answer a difficult question based on Latin, that they actually spoke Latin in Trinidad – a kind of Calypso Tent extemporaneous wit!

[79] Lewis to Wynter, July 3rd 1959, UWI Archives, MA 92.1, D19.

[80] Ibid.

[81] Economics Department Programme 1959/60, a meeting held on Friday August 7th, 1959 UWI Archives, MA 92.1, Box 128.

[82] Robbins to Lewis, 3rd May, 1960. UWI Archives, MA 92.1, Box 127.

[83] Lewis to Robbins, 9th June, 1960. UWI Archives, MA 92.1, Box 127.

[84] Ibid. Robbins had sent Lewis ‘… strictly for your private eye … two house papers which may throw some light on the changes.’ At issue were the ‘high rates of failure and poor percentage of firsts and good seconds’ and the problems of integration of the different disciplines as taught in the B.Sc. (Econ.) at L.S.E.. In one of the papers Robbins sent, a young L.S.E. staff member styling himself “Quiet Young Man Made Angry”, argued that until a “… real intellectual synthesis… [was achieved, the kind of scheme with exams every year and additional subjects would be] … somewhat of an organised hypocrisy.” The proposed L.S.E. changes were not without their share of sharp controversy.

[85] UWI Calendar, 1962-1963, p.15.

[86] Minutes of Council, U.C.W.I., 14th February, 1958. UWI Archives.

[87] Sherlock and Nettleford, p. 11. Emphasis added. The emphasized phrase originates in Hugh Springer’s excellent short piece: “On Being A West Indian” which he concludes by arguing that “… political action is more effective and less harmful to the community if the people who act have some education. The conclusion to be drawn is obvious, though it may be that there are still people who do not believe that investment in people is the best form of investment”. p. 183.

© 2018 Wilberne Persaud. All Rights Reserved.Design & Development by SIMEYA