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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents
    Front Matter
        Front Matter 1
        Front Matter 2
        Front Matter 3
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
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Full Text

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_ ll!74



Vol. 7


Reprinted from a copy in the collections of the
University of Florida Librairies

Reprinted by permission of
A Division of
Nendeln/Lie ctenstein

Printed in Germany
Lessingdru&erei Wiesbaden

VOL. 7. No. 4





W. Arthur Lewis

Principal, T. W J. Taylor

Compton Seaforth

Rex Nettleford

Frederic G. Cassidy, Jamaica Talk
Muntu, An Outline of Neo-African Culture
A House for Mr Biswas

APRIL, 1962


MSS. and Communications to the Editors should be addressed to either Editor of
the Caribbean Quarterly at their respective addresses, and not to an individual.
Unsolicited MSS. which are not accepted for publication will be returned if accom-
panied by a stamped addressed envelope.

Copyright reserved, and reproduction without permission strictly forbidden.



HECTOR WYNTER, Director of Extra Mural Studies, University College
of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica.
RuBY SAMLALSINGH, Resident Tutor, Trinidad and Tobago.

The Editors are advised by an Editorial Board consisting of members of
the College Staff, Mona, Jamaica.
Single copies can be obtained in the West Indies from booksellers or from the
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Georgetown, British Guiana.
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Grenada and St. Vincent Extra Mural Department, Granby Street, St. George's,
Jamaica Extra Mural Department, U.C.W.I. Mona, Jamaica.
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Use and Disuse of Languages in the West Indies Douglas Taylor
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Vegetation in the Caribbean Area ... F. Asprey
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William Dampier (1652-1715)-Writer and Buccaneer
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Queen Anne's Government and the Slave Trade D. A. G. Waddell
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British Representation in Venezuela in 1826 William M. Armstrong
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Cultural Relations within the Caribbean Lou Lichtveld
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Canada's Federal Experience Alexander Brady
Australia Background to Federation F. W. Mahler
The Constitution of Australia S. S. Ramphal
Early Constitutional History of Jamaica C. V. Gocking
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Editorial Comments and Notes

SPECULATION has been varied on the meaning of the Jamaica Referendum
to the development of the University College. When Jamaicans on September
19th, 1961 decided that they would no longer take part in a West Indian
Federation, one of the first questions asked was whether a West Indies
University College could continue to be based in what would become a
foreign country to some of the contributing territories. In the last few months
the future of any political co-operation between the other islands of the
Federation is itself uncertain, and complicates the matter further.
The majority opinion seems to be that there is nothing inconsistent with
natural pride in sharing an expensive seat of Higher Learning with one's
neighbours, and in approaching a number of local problems as a result of
the thorough and careful research undertaken at a Regional University
College. But there are other opinions.
Even before the Jamaica vote, there had been a natural desire in the
larger territories outside Jamaica for what some persons call "branches of
the College" being based there in addition to the Extra-Mural Department's
offices. The College agreed in 1960/61 to the principle of Liberal Arts Colleges
being established in the larger territories to provide teaching for general
degrees in Arts and Sciences. Indeed, plans have been made for such a
college in Trinidad at the St. Augustine site, and the Premier of British
Guiana has already announced his interest in establishing a College in that
The changed nature of the Federation has brought the whole problem
into sharper focus. Will territories with Liberal Arts Colleges wish to continue
to contribute to a University College outside their shores, or will they prefer
to pay for each student who goes to the College for courses not provided in
the local College, courses such as Medicine?
Secondly, will territories be prepared to contribute to a College based
in a separate sovereign state?
Thirdly, if say British Guiana and Trinidad were to withdraw their
contribution from the U.C.W.I., would Jamaica agree to continue to support
it, with the consequent increased contribution, as a Federal institution?
These are the initial questions to be settled, and perhaps by the time
this issue comes off the press they will have been settled.
One thing is clear the people and leaders of the Caribbean have
recognized the importance of a University institution which can promote
scholarship, and objective enquiry into problems as well as provide trained
personnel to participate in the creation of educated democracies. The institution
would be less effective if fragmentated and this Journal believes that there
are many advantages in an independent University of the West Indies
continuing to serve the whole region.

We are pleased to publish in this issue an article by the Principal,
Dr. W. A. Lewis, on "Education and Economic Development" This article
already appeared in Social and Economic Studies to whose editor and to
Dr. Lewis we are most indebted.

It is timely for us to remind readers of the early history of the College,
and accordingly we reprint an article by the late Sir Thomas Taylor, first
Principal of the College. Readers will remember that the Editor of the
Universities Review gave us permission to print the article in our issue Vol. II
No. I of 1950.
We welcome the following new contributors
Rex Nettleford, Staff Tutor in Government in the Department of Extra-
Mural Studies, who writes on "Political Education"
Beryl Bailey, a Research Fellow in the Department of English, who
reviews "Jamaica Talk"
Campton Seaforth, a Research Fellow in the Department of Chemistry
who writes on "Drugs from the West Indies"

NOTE-The Editorial Board of this Journal have agreed that we should publish during
1962, some of the outstanding articles written in the early beginnings. Con-
sequently each issue of 1962 will contain at least one outstanding article of
the past.

Education and Economic Development


POOR countries cannot afford to pay for as much education as richer countries.
They have therefore to establish priorities in terms both of quantity and of
The requirements of economic development help in setting priorities, but
they are not over-riding. Education was not invented in order to enable men
to produce more goods and services. The purpose of education is to enable
men to understand better the world in which they live, so that they may
more fully express their potential capacities, whether spiritual, intellectual or
material. Indeed, through the centuries the traditional attitude of "practical"
men towards education has been that it unfits its recipients for useful work.
Certainly, most people would agree that education is desirable even if it
contributed nothing to material output.
From the standpoint of economic development, one may distinguish
between types of education which increase productive capacity and types
which do not. Teaching an African cook to read may increase his enjoyment
of life, but will not necessarily make him a better cook. Education of the
former kind I have called investment education, while the latter kind is called
consumption education. From the standpoint of economic development, invest-
ment education has a high priority, but consumption education is on a par
with other forms of consumption. The money spent on teaching cooks to
read might equally be spent on giving them pure water supplies, or radios,
or better housing, and must therefore compete in the context of all other
possible uses of resources. In this perspective the needs of economic develop-
ment help to determine the minimum amount which must be spent on
education. How much to spend above this minimum depends on how rich the
society is, and on competing claims. This article is confined to seeking to
discover the nature and limits of investment education.

It is fundamental to this approach that the amount of education which
"pays for itself" in a poor country is limited. Some confusion has been
caused by applying to these countries the conclusions of statisticians who try
to measure the yield of education in rich countries, and who emerge with
such conclusions as that the yield of investment in humans exceeds the yield
of investment in physical resources. In the first place, investment in humans
is not to be equated with education, as normally conceived in institutional
terms. Human capacity is improved by education, public health, research,
invention, institutional change, and better organization of human affairs,
whether in business or in private or public life. To attribute all improvements
in productivity to education would therefore be more than a little naive.
Secondly rich countries have a greater capacity to absorb the products of

schools than have poor countries; so even if we could isolate the average yield
of various types of education in rich countries, this would throw no light on
the marginal yield of similar types in poor (or for that matter in rich) countries.
An over-supply of educated persons is a familiar feature in poor countries,
e.g., the over-supply of university graduates in India in the 1930's, or the
over-supply of primary school graduates in some West African countries today.
An education system may very easily produce more educated people than
the economic system can currently absorb in the types of job or at the rates
of pay which the educated expect. This is a short-period phenomenon. In
the long run the educated learn to expect different jobs and to accept lower
rates of pay. But the long run may be very long, and the jobs accepted may
gain very little from the education received.
Part of the difficulty of absorption is due to the education system
producing the wrong kinds of education. The balance between primary,
secondary and higher education; between general and vocational studies;
between humanities and sciences; or between institutional and in-service
training-all these need to be blended in the right proportions if education
is to be a help rather than a hindrance to economic development. Because
the pattern of education was formed many centuries before the modern
technological revolution occurred, most education systems give too little weight
to the natural sciences and technology, whether at primary, secondary or
higher levels, so that a surfeit of persons trained in literary studies, side by
side with an acute shortage of persons trained in scientific, biological or
mechanical arts, is a feature of several countries. Careful survey and planning
are needed if the education system is to produce the balance of skills which
the community exactly needs at its particular stage of development.
Nevertheless, the problem is not wholly or even mainly one of balance.
The main limitation on the absorption of the educated in poor countries is
their high price, relatively to average national output per head. In a country
where most people are illiterate, the primary school graduate, whose only
skills are reading and writing, commands a wage much higher than a farmer's
income. A university graduate who, in a rich country, commences at a salary
about equal to a miner's wage, may in a poor country, receive five times a
miner's wage. In consequence all production or provision of services which
depends on using educated people is much more expensive, in relation to
national income, in poor than in rich countries. The poor countries may need
the educated more than the rich, but they can even less afford to pay for or
absorb large numbers.
In the long run the situation adjusts itself because the premium for
education diminishes as the number of educated increases. Either the educated
have to accept less, or else they are unable to resist the pressures which cause
the wages of the less educated to rise faster than their own. The grumbling
of the middle and lower middle classes as their privileges diminish is a
universal phenomenon, and not infrequently has political consequences. Upper
classes based on land or capital have always favoured restricting the supply
of education to absorptive capacity, because they know the political dangers
of having a surplus of educated persons.

The situation is particularly acute in Africa, where senior administrative
salaries have had a considerable premium above similar salaries in Europe,
in order to attract European recruits. In consequence, the range of personal
incomes is wider than anywhere else in the world; much wider than in Asia,
where senior salaries are only about a half of their European equivalents.
Now that Africans are taking over the top administrative jobs, they are asking,
in the name of the sacred principle of non-discrimination, to be paid the
same salaries as Europeans, as if it were necessary to spend 50 per cent. more
on them to attract them away from positions in Europe. Many African
politicians have stamped on this ridiculous proposition, which handicaps
development by making it unnecessarily expensive, and also merely substitutes
the yoke of the African B.A. upon the neck of the African peasant. The
ultimate outcome cannot be in doubt, but much passion will be expended
on the way.
As the premium for education falls, the market for the educated may
widen enormously. Jobs which were previously done by people with less
education are now done by people with more education. The educated lower
their sights, and employers raise their requirements. Primary school teaching
illustrates this admirably. In the poorest countries, the requirement is
completion of a primary school education. At the next level, it is completion
of a secondary education. In most American states it is now completion of a
college education; and in one or two American cities one cannot become a
primary school teacher without an M.A. degree. Similarly, ten years ago people
wondered what the United States would do with its flood of college graduates;
but as the premium on college graduates has diminished, business men have
decided to hire increasing numbers even for jobs requiring no special skill.
As a result of this process an economy can ultimately absorb any number
of educated people. It follows that it is erroneous, when making a survey of
the need for skilled manpower, to confine one's calculations to the numbers
that could be absorbed at current prices. One ought to produce more educated
people than can be absorbed at current prices, because the alteration in
current prices which this forces is a necessary part of the process of economic
development. On the other hand, this adjustment is painful, and fraught
with political dangers. Like all social processes, it requires time for relative

To give eight years of primary education to every child would cost at
current prices about 0.8 per cent of national income in the U.S.A., 1.7 per
cent. in Jamaica, 2.8 per cent. in Ghana and 4.0 per cent. in Nigeria. The
main reason for this wide difference is that, while the average salary of a
primary school teacher is less than 1f times per capital national income in the
U.S.A., a primary school teacher gets three times the per capital national
income in Jamaica, five times in Ghana, and seven times in Nigeria. If the
cost of education is to be kept within taxable capacity, widespread provision
of education belongs to a stage of development where the premium for
education has already diminished to reasonable proportions.

Apart from its cost, universal primary education, if attained with speed,
raises problems of absorption. In a community where only 20 per cent. of
children enter primary school, and only 10 per cent. finish the course, the
demand for primary school graduates is such that they command consider-
able salaries in white collar jobs. If the number entering primary school is
pushed up from 20 to 80 per cent. of the age group within ten years, as has
happened in some West African countries, the result is frustration. The
children pouring out of the primary schools look to the town for clerical jobs,
and are disappointed when they do not find employment. The towns fill up
with discontented youths, faster than houses, jobs, water supplies, or other
amenities can be provided, and urban slums and delinquents multiply while
the countryside is starved of young talent.
The situation is sometimes blamed on the failure of rural schools to adapt
their curricula in such a way as to orientate rural children to rural life. This,
however, is only part of the problem. The primary school leaver's expecta-
tions derive not from the curriculum but from the status which his immediate
predecessors have enjoyed. In a developed economy the wage of an unskilled
labourer (which is all that primary education produces) is about one-third
of the average income per occupied person; but a primary school leaver in
Africa expects about twice the average income per occupied person. Obviously,
if literacy became universal it would be impossible to pay every literate person
twice the average income. If the primary school leaver is to get twice the
average income, he can fit only into those parts of the economy which yield
twice the average income, and the rate of absorption of primary school leavers
then depends on the rate at which these modernised sectors of the economy are
expanding. He will fit into a revolutionised agriculture, with modern practices
and equipment, but it is useless to expect him to fit into the three-acres-and-
a-hoe fanning of his father. Any good primary school will widen a child's
horizons, and create expectations which primitive fanning cannot fulfil. So
even if rural schools concentrate on rural life, their products are bound to
suffer frustration unless the whole social fabric of agriculture is being
modernised at the same time.
Cutting the cost of education by reducing the length of the primary course
makes absorption still more difficult. Several African countries have now
adopted a six-year primary course. This means that hordes of youngsters are
turned on to the labour market, aged 12, with high expectations and low
skills. In part this is a borrowing from British or French or American systems,
where universal six-year primary education is followed by universal schooling
of some secondary type for at least a further three years. In the absence of
this secondary stage, African countries would do better, from the standpoint
of absorption into the economy, if they gave primary education to fewer
children for a longer period, of say eight or nine years.
The limited absorptive capacity of most West African economies today-
especially the backwardness of agriculture-makes frustration and dislocation
inevitable if more than fifty per cent. of children enter school. This, coupled
with the high cost due to the high ratio of teachers' salaries to average
national income, and with the time it takes to train large numbers of teachers

properly, has taught some African countries to proceed with caution-to set
the goal of universal schooling twenty years ahead or more, rather than the
ten years ahead or less which was associated with the first flush of independence
movements. This decision is highly controversial to those for whom literacy
is a universal human right irrespective of cost, to those who feel that it is
better to be taught by untrained teachers than not to be taught at all, and
also to those who see in the frustrations generated by incapacity of the current
social fabric to absorb, the very stuff which will promote needed change
rapidly. On the other hand, considering that in most African territories less
than 25 per cent. of children aged 6 to 14 are in school, a goal of 50 per cent.
within ten years may be held to constitute revolutionary progress.

If the poorer countries tend to expand primary education too rapidly,
their failure to make adequate provision for secondary education is a major
handicap to economic development.
The products of secondary schools are the officers and non-commissioned
officers of an economic and social system. A small percentage goes on to
university education, but the numbers required from the university are so
small that the average country of up to five million inhabitants could manage
tolerably well without a university of its own. Absence of secondary schools,
however, is an enormous handicap. These schools supply the persons who
with one or two more years of training (in institutions or on the job)
become technologists, secretaries, nurses, school teachers, book-keepers, clerks,
civil servants, agricultural assistants and supervisory workers of various kinds.
The middle and upper ranks of business consist almost entirely of secondary
school products, and these products are also the backbone of public admin-
istration. To have to import large numbers of people at this level, paying
them in salaries and allowances two to three times what they could get in
rich countries, is a blow to most development schemes. In industry it makes
production costs absurdly high. In public administration it puts many
desirable schemes-such as agricultural extension or nursing services-beyond
the range of taxable capacity. While, as for democratic social life, the absence
of a good sprinkling of educated people, serving voluntarily in public agencies
(local government, co-operative societies, &c.) and acting as an informed
public opinion, exposes society too easily to deception and corruption. When
one compares the countries which have become independent since the second
World War, there is a clear difference between those whose business and
public affairs are still run mainly by expatriates, under Ministers of the
country, and those which are really competent to run their affairs at all
levels, because their secondary schools have supplied streams of people for
intermediate and higher posts in business and administration.
The proportion of the population needed in secondary schools is a function
of the level of development. If we include nurses, secretaries and school
teachers, the proportion of the adult population holding jobs for which a
secondary grammar school education is now normally considered an appro-
priate preliminary is about 5 per cent. in Jamaica. This is higher than the

proportion who have actually completed secondary education. It is the
number of jobs for which a secondary education would now be expected. In
African countries the current proportion is very much smaller, because the
subsistence sector is so much greater. The number who have received
secondary education is only a fraction of one per cent., while the number
holding jobs for which a secondary education is considered appropriate is
probably between I and 2 per cent.
One can calculate the percentage of the age cohort who should receive
secondary education from the formula
n (a + b + c)
x --=
x = proportion of age cohort to be recruited;
n = ratio of number of secondary-type jobs to adult population;
m = ratio of number in age cohort to adult population;
a = normal percentage wastage of nationals of the country;
b = abnormal wastage due to replacement of expatriates;
c = percentage rate of growth of the number of secondary type jobs.
Of these c is the most difficult factor to assess. In a community such as
the United States, which is already nearly saturated with secondary school
types, the rate of growth of numbers cannot much exceed the rate of growth
of population. In a community like Jamaica, where the modernised sector of
the economy employs only about a half of the population, and is still making
inroads into the numbers engaged in subsistence farming, petty trading and
domestic service, secondary school type jobs probably grow slightly faster
than the normal rate of growth of national income, since they depend mainly
on the growth of the public sector, and of other service industries. The current
growth rate in Jamaica is probably about 6 per cent. per annum. In West
Africa, where the modernised sector is still smaller, its expansion relatively
to the whole economy is still faster (especially as public services are growing
rapidly) and secondary school type jobs may be growing by as much as
8 per cent. per annum. In this area too, the proportion of expatriates in
secondary type jobs is abnormally high, and a large wastage figure may be
expected; say 15 per cent. of that proportion in each year. One may thus
guess that the percentage of the age cohort required in secondary grammar
schools is
0.05(0.02 + 0 + 0.06)
In Jamaica x
10.0 per cent.
0.01 (0.025 + 0.005 + 0.08)
In Nigeria2 x
2.4 per cent.
These ratios are just about consistent with the demand for secondary
education on the part of parents. In most of the poorer countries at present,

parents of about 8 to 12 per cent. of the children who start primary education
want these children to go on to secondary education of the grammar school
type; and where government schools are not provided, many private schools
of very poor quality, charging low fees, spring into existence to meet the
demand. If good grammar schools are provided for 10 per cent. of children
entering primary school, this will just about meet both parental demand and
also absorptive capacity.
The obstacle to providing secondary education in West Africa is not so
much recurrent cost as capital cost. Recurrent cost is abnormal, for reasons
already given. Cost per teacher is 30 times per capital national income in
Nigeria, compared with 12 times in Jamaica, and with only twice in the
United States. Nevertheless, even in Nigeria to provide grammar school
education for 5 per cent. of the age group costs a little less than 1 per cent. of
national income. The fantastic burden is the cost of building schools. One
can build a good secondary school in England for 50,000, but the cost of
a school for a similar number in Ghana may be 250,000. This is because
many West Africans have persuaded themselves that only boarding schools
are appropriate to Africa. The argument runs as follows. "To get a fully
specialised staff, a school must have 20 teachers. Therefore it must have 500
students. Therefore, assuming 5 per cent. schooling, it must draw from a
population of 70,000. Since very few African towns have a population
exceeding 10,000, it follows that most African towns cannot support a day
secondary school. Therefore the solution has to be boarding schools." A
boarding school, complete with dormitories and staff houses costs 250,000.
The argument can be attacked at either end. Must a secondary school have
20 teachers? If, instead, it started with only six teachers, one could build a
series of day schools in 3 times as many small towns. Even when the school
has to be large, the British solution is boarding, but the American solution
is the school bus, which is hardly known in Africa. Some financial sense is
badly needed in planning secondary schools in Africa. It is obviously absurd
to take the line that Africa's way to secondary education must be through
building Etons for the majority of African children.
Grammar schools are not by any means the only, or in numbers even the
chief form of secondary education. If one follows some authorities in reserving
the term "primary" for education up to age 12, and in using the term
"secondary" for all education between 12 and 18, then some secondary
education should be provided for all children who complete primary education,
since such children are not ready for the labour market at 12. Children who
do not go on to grammar school pass into secondary schools with a practical
bias, known as "middle" or "intermediate" or "central" or "modern
secondary" schools, or into the practical streams of "comprehensive schools",
or, in the French system into the "first cycle" of secondary schooling. Except
in the United States of America, the great majority of children end their
schooling here.
A few of these children are ready, at about age 15, to pass into vocational
schools, for full-time technical training. It is hard to judge how large this
group should be. People possessing the skills taught in such schools-

building, metal working, engineering-comprise from 2 to 8 per cent of the
working population in less developed countries, but it does not follow that
8 per cent. of children should enter such schools. The traditional training for
these trades is a system of apprenticeship. In the United States of America,
where nearly 70 per cent. of children are kept in school until age 17, vocational
schooling has had to substitute for on the job training up to that age. Else-
where, it is probably cheaper and more effective to rely on apprenticeship; to
put not more than 2 per cent. of the age cohort through full-time courses,
and to arrange part-time courses for the rest.
Actually, in poor countries half the age cohort should enter agriculture.
Primary and intermediate schools in rural areas have an agricultural bias,
but they see the child through at most to age 15. Governments provide farm
schools to train agricultural assistants for government service, but very few
provide courses for students who wish to farm. Probably the ideal is for the
child to start farming at 15, and then around age 18 to go to a practical farm
school for about six months to see modern techniques. It is true that agri-
cultural extension can be done on farms by peripatetic agricultural assistants,
but this is not an adequate substitute for an intensive course for bright young
farmers, any more than "training-within-industry" is a complete substitute
for vocational schools.
When the grammar school children leave school, between 16 and 18, they
are ready for specialised training. The great majority will go straight into
employment, and receive on the job training as clerks or technical assistants.
Others need preliminary training of say from six months upwards, to become
secretaries, medical technicians, nurses, agricultural assistants, primary school
teachers, junior engineers, or as the case may be.
Very few of the poorer countries made adequate provision for this
specialised but sub-professional training. This is because the supply of
educational facilities is not properly planned in relation to the needs of
economic and social development. The making of "manpower surveys" is
spreading as a remedy for this defect. The technique of making such surveys
is still rudimentary. Asking employers how many people they intend to employ,
or would like to employ in various categories, yields interesting answers, but
these answers do not necessarily add up to absorptive capacity. It should be
possible, from examining the manpower statistics of different countries in
different stages of development, to produce some coefficients which would act
as a check on the results yielded by questionnaires, but basic work of this
kind is only just starting in the universities. Meanwhile it is clear that even
rudimentary manpower surveys help governments to appreciate the need for
specialised training facilities for people between ages 16 and 20, so greater
use of such surveys is certainly to be commended.

The quickest way to increase productivity in the less developed countries
is to train the adults who are already on the job. Education for children is
fine, but its potential contribution to output over ten years is small compared
with the potential contribution of efforts devoted to improving adult skills.

This field is almost wholly neglected. In the government hierarchy it
belongs not to the Ministry of Education but to the Ministries of Trade,
Agriculture, Mining, Health, Communications, Community Development and
others. Most of these Ministries are too busy making new regulations and
processing forms, to regard adult education as a major part of their functions.
Yet there is ample testimony to what adult education can achieve, whether
in the form of training-within-industry, evening classes, or sandwich courses
in urban centres; or in the form of agricultural extensions, health programmes,
or community development in rural areas.
Experience shows that the secret of success is to make adult education
into a popular mass movement. There is not much point in offering adult
classes if adults do not wish to attend classes. The Danish folk movement, or
the Russian literacy campaigns or any other adult education movement has
been successful in so far as it has stirred the imaginations of the people, and
created a mass desire to learn. Some popular African leaders, like M. Sekou-
Tour6 of Guinea, understand this very well, and are therefore likely to succeed
in getting adult education, in one form or another, to contribute substantially
to economic and social development. Elsewhere, adult education languishes
as much for want of understanding as it does for lack of funds.

The number of university graduates who can be absorbed at low levels
of economic development is relatively small. The proportion of jobs in Jamaica
for which a university education is now considered normal corresponds only
to about 5 per thousand of adult population; and the corresponding figure
for Nigeria, according to Professor Harbison's count3 is only around 1 per
thousand of adult population. We can apply to these figures the same formula
and the same rates of growth as for secondary education (leaving out the
coefficient for expatriate wastage, since the number of expatriate graduates
does not decline with independence; there are fewer pensionable civil servants,
but more expatriates on contract). We may thus guess that the proportion
of the age cohort who should graduate from the university is
0.005(0.022 + 0.06)
In Jamaica x =
1.17 per cent.
0.001(0.028 + 0.08)
In Nigeria x =
= 0.27 per cent.
The answer we get for Nigeria corresponds to about 2,200 students leaving
the university each year, and is not far from Professor Harbison's. The
answer for Jamaica, if generalised for the area served by the University
College of the West Indies, gives an output of 900 students a year, or a total
undergraduate body, allowing for wastage, of about 3,300 students, compared
with the current total of 980 students at U.C.W.I.4 The postulated increase
of 6 per cent. per annum would bring this figure up to 5,500 students by 1970.
1 3 *

Most of the new African countries do not at present have enough students
to justify building a university; it is cheaper for them to send their students
abroad. In a country with a population of 2,000,000, putting say 0.5 per cent.
of the age cohort into university, the total student number comes only to
700. This is quite uneconomic for a university with the broad range of faculties
which is usually sought. A liberal arts school of the American type is
economic with 500 students, but to be economic a British type combination
of Faculties of Arts, Science and Social Science needs about 1,200 students;
Medicine needs 300 students, and Agriculture and Engineering need 200 each.
This makes about 2,000 students in round figures. All the universities founded
in Africa since the war have been costing from 3 to 5 times as much
per student as it costs to run a university in Europe.

In so far as these exorbitant costs are due to abnormally high staff/student
ratios, ranging upwards to 1 to 3, as against I to 8 in Britain, or I to 20
in liberal arts colleges, they are temporary, and will pass as student numbers
expand. But this is by no means the only cause. In British universities the
cost of the average university is about 4,000 a year per teacher. In
universities in British tropical Africa the cost per teacher exceeds 6,500 a
year. This is mainly because the teachers, two-thirds of whom are recruited
in Britain, have to be paid higher salaries and given greater allowances than
they get in Britain, and cost the African universities, including passages, at
least 1,500 a year more than they would cost in Britain. Even the African
teachers are paid about 1,000 a year more than African civil servants of
equivalent education. On top of this, these universities are not sited in towns,
where they could use public facilities (and contribute the maximum amount
to public life) but have in every case been sited away from towns, where
they have to maintain their own police, telephone exchanges, electric power
stations, sewerage disposal, transport and other services, and have therefore
to carry a service organisation about five times as large as is carried by an
urban university. For the same reason the capital cost, in terms of student
hostels and houses for the teaching staff is simply fantastic, especially having
regard to the extravagant housing standards which have been traditional for
Europeans in the British tropics. As it happens, the capital cost of African
universities seems likely to be met mostly by grants from the treasuries of
Britain, France and the United States, but the recurrent cost is an immense
burden, except to the extent that it is met by France in the former French
territories. (Costs in the West Indies are similarly extremely high). The
situation is very different in India, or in Egypt, where university lecturers
are recruited locally, and cost no more than other nationals of equivalent
education. Just as African educators want to build Etons for every secondary
school child, so also they have loaded on to the backs of their taxpayers, who
are among the poorest in the world, the most expensive universities in the
world outside North America.

However, even if the cost per student were no higher in Africa than in
Britain, the cost to Africa of training a student in Africa would still exceed
the cost to Africa of sending him to Britain. This is because an African
student in Britain pays only a small fraction of the cost of his training; the

rest is met by the British taxpayer's grant to the universities. So long as
tuition fees in Europe are negligible, it will always cost an African economy
more to train students at home that it would cost to send them to similar
universities in Europe. (One can send a student for 600 a year, whereas
even with utmost economy the tuition and maintenance cost at a British-
type African university will not fall below 1,000 a year.) It is not possible
for a large country to place all its students overseas, but this is feasible for
a small country, especially while the percentage of students for university
training is still small. From the economic point of view, therefore, one must
ask why should a small African country (or the West Indies) have its own
university, when two or three or four times as many students could be sent
abroad for the same money?

The chief reason why it is worthwhile, from the economic point of view,
to have a university at home, even though it costs more than sending students
abroad, is that the function of a university is not confined to teaching students.
If it were merely a question of teaching, there could be no doubt about the
answer. For though one can argue on either side in terms of the atmosphere
of a home university, or the suitability of its curricula, or the advantages of
foreign travel, the net result of such argument fades into insignificance besides
the possibility of sending 5 students abroad for every 3 who might be trained
at home (assuming the most economical set-up). Only if foreign aid provides
all the capital and a third of the running expenditure can a purely teaching
university justify itself on economic grounds.

Apart from teaching, a university contributes to its community through
the participation of its teachers in the life of the country, and through its
research into local problems.
A poor country has very few educated people. To have in its midst a
body of one or two hundred first class intellects can make an enormous
difference to the quality of its cultural, social, political and business life. This,
however, depends on participation. If the university is built in the bush, and
isolates itself as a self-contained community, it misses a tremendous oppor-
tunity of service. Countries rich in income and talent can afford to bury their
universities in the countryside. But the universities of poor countries should
be in the heart of urban centres, where they can do most good. (This also
incidentally greatly reduces the cost of lodgings and of services). The oppor-
tunities for participation are immense; membership of public boards and
committees; contributions to professional societies; guidance of teacher
training colleges; availability for consultation by administrators and business
people; membership of musical, dramatic, artistic and other groups; journalism
and radio work; adult education classes. If the staff of the university is not
giving active leadership in all these fields, it would be cheaper to close the
place down, unless it is also doing excellent research.

A country needs to have some research institutions whether it has a
university or not. If the same people do teaching and research, only a part
of the university cost should be charged against teaching. The question
therefore arises whether teaching and research should be combined.


The British theory that every university must regard itself as primarily
a research institute with students, doubles the cost per student. A research
institute type of university has a staff student ratio of I to 10 (excluding
medicine) with a maximum teaching load of ten hours a week; whereas a
university where the staff are not expected to do research can have a staff
student ratio of 1 to 20, with a teaching load of 20 hours a week. Any
university which adopts the British ratios must insist that any staff member
who does not make significant research contributions must be fired. For a
poor country in Africa or elsewhere to load itself up with the expense of a
British type university, and accept from its teachers that they should be
judged primarily by teaching results, would be folly of a high order.
One can argue persuasively that the first university in any poor country
should be of the research institute type, provided that the research test is
rigidly applied to its staff. However, as student numbers expand, it becomes
progressively harder to justify the multiplication of these expensive structures
in poor countries. The great majority of students entering a university are
not research types, and do not need to be carried to the frontiers of knowledge.
What they need is a broad education, to fit them for administration,
commerce, or teaching up to fifth form level. For this, the American conception
of a liberal arts degree (which combines science, humanities and social studies)
is much more relevant than the British Honours degree. There should be at
least one university engaging in high quality research, and offering high
quality Honours degrees, on the basis of high entrance standards. But, as
numbers expand, the majority should be diverted into liberal arts colleges.
Here the teacher student ratio can be halved, and (since one does not
need top flight researchers) teacher salaries can be more in line with salaries
in the public services'; if in addition most of the students live at home, one
can get the cost of a student down to perhaps two-thirds of what it would cost
to send students abroad. To mitigate the prejudice which exists in British
circles against such conceptions, one must add that, as in the United States,
any graduate of one of these liberal arts colleges who displayed special talents,
could go on to the major university for post-graduate training.
Similar principles could be applied to professional training, but with less
justification. In every profession there are at least three layers; top flight
researchers, professionals and sub-professionals. In agriculture, there are
specialists, general agronomists, and agricultural assistants trained in farm
schools. Medicine has specialists, general practitioners, and a third layer of
nurses, dispensing chemists and medical technologists. Engineering has its
scientists, its professional engineers, and its third layer of technologists.
The proportions in which these layers are combined are different in rich
and poor countries. The rich countries can afford to spend much more
proportionately on research than the poor countries, so the need for top-flight
scientists and specialists is proportionately greater. Such men also need long
periods of stimulation working in first class laboratories abroad, so the
universities of poor countries should not try to put too much of their resources
into superior training of first class men. The bulk of their work must be the
training of the second layer.

The ratio of numbers in the second to numbers in the third layer is also
smaller than in rich countries. Because of the high cost of engineers, doctors
and agronomists, one employs fewer of these and more technologists, nurses
and agricultural assistants, who therefore carry greater responsibilities. This
is reflected in the ratio of jobs for which a degree is currently considered
necessary to jobs for which a grammar school education is considered appro-
priate, which is more like I to 10 in poor countries, compared with I to 5 in
Because of the high cost of training graduates, it is sometimes suggested
that the universities in poor countries should lower the standards of profes-
sional training, on the ground that it is better to have say 100 three-quarter
trained doctors, who can be spread over the countryside, rather than 70 well
trained doctors, leaving 30 per cent. of the population without a doctor. This
has been done in some places. The alternative policy is to mass produce not
the second layer, but the third, and in the process even to upgrade the training
of the third layer. One then floods the countryside not with low-grade dentists,
but with high grade dental assistants; not with poorly trained agronomists,
but with well trained agricultural assistants. If this policy is adopted, the
corollary is to up-grade the training not only of the third layer, but also
of the second layer. For the second layer professional now has many more
third layer people working under him; he resigns to them more of the routine
work, and concentrates to a greater extent on the more difficult tasks. His
administrative responsibilities are also greater. From this it follows that he
needs an even sounder training than his professional colleague in Europe. It
is indeed quite arguable that, what with language difficulties, greater
administrative responsibilities, and the need to work in isolation from specialist
advice and laboratory analysis, professionals need at least one more year of
training in poor countries than in rich countries.
I have written at some length on university education because the
economic aspects of this subject are very different in poor countries from what
they are in rich countries, and are nevertheless so seldom considered. It tends
to be assumed that what is right in Britain must also be right in Nyasaland.
Even in Britain, university people are not good at seeing themselves in their
social context; most of the best of them are too busy teaching and doing
research, to worry about such an abstraction as the social and economic
context of a university, and when such people arrive in the tropics, it is
easier for them to continue old patterns than to invent new ones. The subject
is fraught with difficulty, and merits widespread informed discussion.


IThis is a substantially revised and extended version of a paper presented to the
UNESCO conference on the Educational Needs of Africa held at Addis Ababa from
May 15th to 25th, 1961.
2This is an average for the whole country. The situation differs widely in the
three regions.

3Cf. Ashby Report, Investment in Education, Lagos, 1960.

4The total number of West Indians in universities is about 4,000, of whom 3,000
are in British, American or Canadian universities. Allowing for the longer degree courses
in North America, and for the fact that a very large proportion of the students in
North America are part-time students, the annual output of West Indians from
universities is now probably about 900. The current shortage of graduates is due to
the fact that a large proportion of those who qualify in North America do not return
to the West Indies; there is also considerable imbalance as between faculties. The
West Indian university problem is not to have more students enter university (apart
from the postulated increase of 6 per cent. per annum) but to provide more university
facilities in the West Indies, both to fill the gap of the students who do not return,
and also because U.C.W.I. has more to offer to West Indians than they can get in
foreign universities, in terms of suitable curricula as well as of emotional balance.

5The British practice of paying all university teachers according to a single scale
would not be appropriate to a country which has different kinds of universities.

(Reproduced from Social And Economic Studies, Vol, 10, No. 2, with kind permission
of the Editor).

The University College of the West Indies


THE BRITISH COLONIES in and near the Caribbean Sea lie in the tropical belt,
but must not be thought of in the same way as tropical Africa or the eastern
tropics. In these there are large indigenous populations with ancient civiliza-
tions and cultures or active tribal organizations, while in the Caribbean none
of these remain. The original populations disappeared almost entirely in the
two centuries that followed Columbus' discoveries and are represented today
only by the Mayas and Caribs of British Honduras and the Amerindians of
the hinterland of British Guiana while in the islands there are a few negligibly
small groups in St. Vincent and Dominica. Historically, the situation is closer
to that in the southern states of North America, with settlers and traders
from various European countries developing an agriculture based on slave
labour imported from Africa. This means that these colonies have been under
the influence of some form of European culture for three hundred years or
more. Barbados has been continuously British since 1605 and Jamaica since
1655. The two latest to become British Colonies were Trinidad under the
Treaty of Amiens in 1802 and British Guiana in 1814 of these the former
was Spanish since 1577 and latter Dutch since about 1602. There are no native
languages which remain all the people speak a European tongue, English
everywhere with French in Colonies like St. Lucia and Trinidad and Spanish
in the latter, though often in a somewhat debased form.
These facts are of importance in thinking of the development of higher
education in the Caribbean. If the Colonies had had more in the way of
accessible natural resources in addition to their agriculture, there is a good
chance that they would now have flourishing university institutions in the
eighteenth century it is worth remembering that when Benjamin Franklin
was trying to establish a medical school in Philadelphia, the first contribution
he received came from Jamaica. Codrington College in Barbados was indeed
founded in 1710, but was little more than a grammar school until it was
reorganized by Bishop Coleridge in 1834. Its buildings, begun in 1716, have
the true academic flavour of the older universities. It was affiliated with the
University of Durham in 1875 and is still at work. Its main activities have
been in theology and the classics and wherever one travels in the Eastern
Caribbean one meets faithful sons of Codrington, clergymen, schoolmasters,
lawyers and others who owe to it the positions they now hold. The number
of its students has never been large and its endowments are modest so that
it has never attempted to provide for the whole of the British Caribbean.
There is plenty of valuable work for it in the future and it should always
be honoured as the first academic institution in the area.
A more daring proposal of the eighteenth century may be mentioned in
passing. This was to convert Bermuda, remote in the Atlantic, into a university
island for the British and American Colonies and was made by the philosopher

Bishop Berkeley. The proposal came to nothing but the curious can read
of it in the recent life of Berkeley by Dr. A. A. Luce.
Jamaica was the scene of the next College, but it was not as successful
as Codrington. The capital of the island had been moved to Kingston in 1870
and the Georgian buildings round the central square of Spanish Town, the
old capital, were vacant. The Governor of the time proposed to convert the
square into a college quadrangle, and Queen's College was founded there in
1876, but there seems to have been more vision than practical sense in the
planning and the College lasted little more than a year. The first Principal,
an Oxford man, died of yellow fever and was succeeded by Grant Allen who
had little heart in the project. Still the need was there and a further attempt
was made in 1890 when University College was founded near Kingston in
connection with Jamaica College, an existing secondary school for boys.
Students were trained to take the external degrees of the University of London,
but the smallness of their numbers and problems of finance presented constant
difficulties and in 1902 the institution was amalgamated with Jamaica College,
and their combined resources used for developing the efficient boys' school
that exists on the site today.
The West Indies was still in need of university education and increasingly
large numbers of young people were going to the universities of Great Britain,
Canada and the United States. The secondary schools, many of them founded
in the eighteenth century, were more advanced than in Africa or the East
and several of the Colonies were devoting public money to sending a few of
their products for higher education overseas. There was a widespread feeling
that this was not enough universities overseas cannot become the centre
which the developing intellectual interests of the Caribbean Colonies demanded,
and in several of these Colonies groups of people formed themselves into
committees with the object of pressing for something in the Caribbean itself.
In 1926 the Colonies established a standing Conference to consider this among
other things and Jamaica set up a committee on the subject in 1938.

The appointment in 1943 of the Asquith Commission to enquire into
higher education in the Colonies thus found in the British West Indies one of
their most important tasks. In Africa and Malaya there were already institu-
tions which could be developed to university status, but in the Caribbean
there was nothing except Codrington while at the same time there was an
urgent local demand. The Commission therefore appointed a special West
Indies Committee, often called the Irvine Committee from the name of its
chairman, Sir James Irvine, Vice-Chancellor of St. Andrews. The other
members were Sir Raymond Priestley, Vice-Chancellor of Birmingham, Miss
Margery Perham of Oxford, Mr. P M. Sherlock of Jamaica and Mr. H. W.
Springer of Barbados. The committee was appointed in January, 1944 and
lost no time in getting down to work, in spite of the war. The members from
Great Britain reached Trinidad by mid-February. The committee spent three
months in the Caribbean Colonies, in several of which they were strengthened

by inviting suitable residents to join in their deliberations, and having returned
to Great Britain via Puerto Rico, Washington and Montreal, their report
(Cmd. 6654) was finished by August.
The Irvine Report, as it is commonly called, is the basis on which the
University College has been established. It was presented to Parliament in
June, 1945 and circulated to the Governments of the Colonies concerned,
all of whom welcomed it with open arms. In essence it recommended that
to serve the needs of Barbados, British Guiana, British Honduras, Jamaica,
the Leeward Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Windward Islands, a
University College should be established in Jamaica to provide for teaching
and research in the Faculties of Arts, Natural Science and Medicine and that
it should resemble in constitution the universities of Great Britain. It should
be governed by a Council which should include representatives of the Govern-
ments concerned and of the academic staff. Academic questions should be
under the control of a Senate composed of representatives of the academic
staff. The College should be residential with halls of residence in which the
under-graduates should reside throughout the academic year. They recom-
mended that a grant towards capital expenditure should be made from
Colonial Development and Welfare Funds, but realized that the cost of
recurrent expenditure would have to fall on the Colonies in the scheme.

It is as well at this stage to say a word about the geographical problem
which has to be faced. The British Caribbean Colonies are sometimes thought
of as a compact group like the Hebrides, but that is an illusion based on
looking at small scale maps. To translate the distances into European terms,
let us place British Honduras, the most westerly of the Colonies, at London.
Jamaica is then roughly at Danzig in the Baltic, Trinidad is at Odessa in the
Black Sea, with the Windwards and Leewards stretching up north far to the
east of Moscow and British Guiana is Asia Minor, almost at Batum. Or in
other terms, British Guiana to British Honduras is as far as Cornwall is from
Newfoundland. Yet in all these distances the population is only of the order
of three million. Jamaica has almost half of this sum, Trinidad has about
half a million and the rest are distributed in small packets over an immense
area. The Irvine Committee decided to recommend Jamaica as the place for
the University College. The alternative was, presumably, to choose one of
the smaller charming islands and allow it to develop with a University as
its main activity. Grenada, a tropical island straight out of the story book,
would have been delightful and it has reasonably good communications. Still,
there is little doubt that the committee was right. The days of ivory towers
are past. A university institution should be in touch with a population if it
is to have its full effect. Undergraduate teaching and research must be its
basic task, but it should extend its influence in all kinds of other ways and
isolation is not the way to do that. The geographical picture, however,
immediately raises many difficulties and among them the equality of oppor-
tunity for young men and women to go to the University College. Air transport
is almost the only way of getting to Jamaica and with the distances the fares

are expensive. The Jamaicans would thus have a financial advantage but
for the recommendation of the Irvine Committee that the cost of transport
to Jamaica at the beginning of the University course and the return fare at
the end should be a charge on the University College revenues.

The Asquith Commission mentioned above had made a general recom-
mendation for all the university institutions which were to be developed in
colonial territories. During their formative years they were to have a foster
mother, the University of London. Before they reached full university status
and awarded their own degrees, they were to work for London degrees, but
not for the old external degrees as the University College of Ceylon did after
the first World War. The new institutions were to be in a "special relation-
ship" with London, the Colonial University Colleges having the initiative in
proposing the syllabus of each examination. After agreement had been reached,
the examining boards were to include members of the University College staffs
as well as examiners appointed by London. In this way it was hoped that
the staffs would rapidly acquire experience and a proper sense of responsibility
so that the transition to full university status could take place as soon as
possible. The responsibility of foster mother was shouldered by London who
set up a special arrangement which has been in operation since October, 1948
and is working extremely well. Indeed the exchange of letters between the
Special Committee and the Senate of the University College saying how well
they are getting on together is tending to become monotonous.

A Principal was appointed in October, 1946 and reached Jamaica in the
following month. Early in January, 1947 meetings took place of the Pro-
visional Council. There was yet no constitution, but decisions had to be made
in order to implement the Irvine Report, so that representatives of the seven
Colonies or groups of Colonies came to Jamaica together with Sir James
Irvine and Sir Raymond Priestley. Among these decisions there were two of
importance. The first concerned the means whereby the University College
could become a corporation in the legal sense, empowered to own property,
enter into contracts and act legally as a person. Legislative act by some
properly constituted legislature was difficult because of the multiplicity of
legislatures concerned there are ten since the Windward Islands are a group
of four independent colonies, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Dominica,
with a Governor in common but no joint legislature. Legislation by Jamaica
alone would have been sufficient, but would not mark the participation of
all the Caribbean Colonies in the enterprise. Procedure by Order in Council
was impossible since for certain historical reasons such Orders do not apply
in all the Colonies involved. It was therefore decided that the most suitable
method was by asking for the grant of a Royal Charter. Fortunately the rather
cumbrous machinery whereby university institutions obtain Royal Charters
could be circumvented in this case since a Minister of State has direct access
to the Privy Council and the Secretary of State for the Colonies, at that time
Mr. Creech-Jones, was eager to do all in his power. Hence after a good deal

of drafting and re-drafting a Charter based on those granted to the more
modern universities of Great Britain was submitted to the Privy Council and
passed under the Great Seal in January, 1949. The Charter does not, of
course, give any powers for the granting of degrees, but it and the annexed
Statutes are drafted so that when the time comes, only minor additions will
be necessary to promote the University College to full university status. The
fate of the original document has a certain pathetic interest. It was despatched
by air mail to Jamaica and placed on board the Tudor aircraft "Star Ariel"
which disappeared mysteriously between Bermuda and the Bahamas in
January, 1949. It is thus lost for ever and cannot be replaced since no
document can pass under the Great Seal more than once. However the Privy
Council agreed to issue Letters Patent in which the fate of the original Charter
is recorded and its provisions are recited and so the University College has
a historic document to record its foundation. H.M. the King consented to
become the Visitor of the University College and to nominate the Chancellor.
It has often been remarked that a University College ought not to have a
Chancellor but a President. The decision by the Provisional Council to ask
for a Chancellor was largely based on the fact that the Caribbean Colonies
form part of the New World and in them New World terminology is in
constant use in the United States a President is the chief executive officer
of a university institution and confusion could easily arise between a President
and a Principal.

Other matters of this sort can be mentioned here. It was agreed that from
the start the University College should exercise the right granted by the
Charter to have a coat of arms. Arms were granted by the College of Arms
in 1949 in a beautiful document which will also be one of the treasures of
the College archives. The shield has a main background of blue and white
wavy lines to show the sea and on them is the open book the upper part
of the shield, the chief, is red with a lion to show the connection with the
Crown, but the lion is erminois, in other words is covered with black spots.
This is the lion borne by H.R.H. Princes Alice, Countess of Athlone, appointed
by the King as the first Chancellor, so that this appointment is recorded for
ever in the arms. The crest is the brown pelican which fishes in its prehistoric
fashion along the coasts of all the Colonies the pelican is a symbol of care
for the young because of the mediaeval, but untrue, belief that it punctures
its breast to feed its young on its blood and it is used as crest by both the
Corpus Christi Colleges, at Oxford and Cambridge. The motto was a matter
of very serious debate since classical studies flourish in some of the Caribbean
Colonies possibly more actively than they do in Great Britain. Eventually
Oriens ex occidente lux was chosen.

Academic dress was a simple matter. In the bright light of the tropics
black is a poor colour and there is one university in Great Britain which
clothes its under-graduates in something different. This is St. Andrews to
which the University College already owes so much through the labours of

its Vice-Chancellor. Hence the request was made that academic dress might
be after the fashion of St. Andrews and, this having been granted, the scarlet
undergraduate gown can be seen today on all formal occasions in Jamaica.
By this means future generations will be put in mind of the debt we owe to
The second important decision concerned the site. Jamaica is a well-
known holiday and health resort and abounds in beautiful places its
mountains rise to Blue Mountain Peak (7,388 feet) and its north coast is
dotted with white bathing beaches and luxury hotels designed for the American
tourist trade. The choice of site was, however, restricted by various factors,
notably the needs of the University College Hospital, essential for the creation
of a medical school. This has to be within easy reach of a centre of population
so that the out-patient department and the wards can get their material.
The site clearly had to be somewhere near, but not too near, the capital
Kingston, a city of over 150,000 inhabitants. Eventually a site of just over
one square mile was chosen about seven miles from the centre of Kingston
and it has been made over by the Government of Jamaica to the College and
its Hospital on a lease of 999 years at a. pepper-corn rent. The site occupies
the end of a valley with the foothills of the Blue Mountains rising to the
north and east and a limestone ridge nearly 2,000 feet high separating it from
the sea on the south. It is possibly not quite so beautiful as the new site of
the University of Ceylon since Jamaica has no noble rivers like the Mahaweli
Ganga, but it must be among the most beautiful sites in the world, especially
at sunset with the changing colours of the mountains and the cloud shadows
and the twinkling lights of the hill villages at four and five thousand feet. The
area is, of course, far larger than is needed at first it should give plenty of
room for expansion for a hundred years or more. Jamaica is in an earthquake
zone, Kingston was largely destroyed by earthquake in 1907, so that high
buildings are impossible and wide spacing desirable and this demands ample
space. From the point of view of general amenities the site is good there
is an almost detached area of 80 acres of flat land to be developed for games
which should become one of the most beautiful cricket grounds in the world
and where, perhaps, in the days to come the test matches against England
will be played. Kingston is within easy reach by bus and in less than an hour
by car one can be at 4,500 feet in a different world.


Much about the same time as the appointment of the Principal, the firm
of Norman & Dawbam of London was selected as architects for the buildings,
and in due course the lay-out was decided. This has been designed for the
future rather than for the next few years. All buildings have been sited so
that they have plenty of room for expansion and sites have been allocated
for buildings which cannot be built at the moment. Future needs cannot be
foretold so that large reserve areas are also left for the departments which
the changing functions of a Colonial University may demand fifty years hence.
In the meantime these areas will give a peaceful background of cattle grazing

under trees. The result of this is, however, that no immediate architectural
effect is expected for a good many years the buildings will be isolated and
appear to be dotted about, but architectural effects of the European kind are
hardly appropriate in a setting of tropical mountains which dwarf human
structures. The erection of permanent buildings is, of course, complicated
by the high costs of today and in addition to the buildings, roads, water
mains, sewage, electricity distribution and so on have to be provided for out
of the available capital. The result is that present resources only permit the
erection of the library, the science laboratories, halls of residence for men
and women under-graduates, lecture rooms and accommodation for arts
subjects and housing for the academic staff. One part of the site was used
during the war to accommodate some of the inhabitants of Gibraltar and
Malta and these were housed in wooden huts. The whole of this shutting,
which included offices, store rooms and canteens, was purchased from the
War Office. It was therefore decided that there was no immediate necessity
to build permanent office accommodation for the Registrar, the Bursar, the
Department of Extra-Mural Studies, &c. Heated buildings are not needed
in a climate where the thermometer never drops below about 65 and usually
to about 700 The huts will be used as long as they last. The erection of
permanent buildings is a slow business nowadays and it was not until the
spring of 1949 that the firm of Higgs and Hill were selected as contractors.
The first undergraduate hall of residence, to house 160 together with some of
the bachelor staff, was ready for use in October, 1950. Four such halls are
in the present programme and it is expected that each will develop charac-
teristics of its own and that they will play the part in university life provided
by the Colleges of the older universities. If all goes well, the library should
be ready in the summer of 1951, together with some of the laboratories. The
Hospital, essential for clinical teaching, is needed urgently and should be
ready by the end of 1951. In the first stage it will provide for 200 beds
and it is intended to erect more wards later until there are 500 beds. The
various departments, such as X-ray, pathology and out-patients, have been
designed for the larger number but will be built now.

The existence of the huts made it possible to begin work without waiting
for the permanent buildings. At the end of 1946 there was an urgent demand
for medical training in the West Indies and admission to medical schools in
Great Britain, Canada and the United States was almost impossible because
of the pressure of ex-service candidates. Hence temporary arrangements were
made suitable wooden buildings were adapted and turned into laboratories,
a library, undergraduates' bed-sitting rooms, offices, a chapel and lecture
rooms, and in October, 1948, the first undergraduates came into residence
and begun work for the 1st M.B. of the University of London. There were
34 of them, of which 10 were women, and nearly all the Colonies in the
scheme were represented; one came from the Turks Islands, a salt-producing
dependency of Jamaica lying to the north near the Bahamas. In October,
1949 teaching began for the general degree iq natural science and in October,
1 4

1950 the first arts students appeared. The intention is to build up an under-
graduate body of about 700, of which it is expected that about 200 will be
in the Faculty of Medicine. The following departments are already in existence
and are either partially or completely staffed mathematics, physics,
chemistry, zoology, botany, physiology, biochemistry, human anatomy,
modern history, modern languages and English. These will be followed by
others until the normal curricula in the Faculties of Medicine, Natural Science
and Arts are available. It is also intended to open a department of education
during 1951 to help in providing for the urgent need for trained teachers in
the secondary schools. Barclays Bank (Dominion, Colonial and Overseas)
have made a generous benefaction of 5,000 towards the cost of a building
for this. Without efficient secondary teaching in the various Colonies the efforts
of the University College will be largely wasted and we are selfishly interested
in their future.
The staff has been appointed on the simple basis of taking the best
available person irrespective of where he or she comes from. It would have
been convenient in many ways if the staff, like the undergraduates, could
have been West Indians from the start, but West Indians have followed
comparatively few departments of study and in some subjects persons with
the necessary knowledge and experience do not yet exist. The quality of the
staff is a matter of the highest importance since it determines the academic
standards and traditions of the future and the people of the Caribbean Colonies
realize this there has been no feeling against the appointment of non-West
Indians. At the moment the staff is cosmopolitan or at least represents a good
deal of the British Commonwealth. Mathematics and physics are under the
charge of West Indians the Librarian was deputy librarian of the University
of Capetown the professor of chemistry comes from New Zealand as does
a member of the botany department. The professors of physiology and
pathology are from Durham and the senior biochemist is a Canadian. The
professor of modem languages comes from Edinburgh but was born in
Germany. History and English are run by Cambridge men. The Principal is
English and the Registrar, Barbadian but both come from Oxford. This is
as it should be. As the years pass the proportion of West Indians will increase
rapidly, but there is always the need for cross-fertilization in university staffs
and it may well be that the new university institutions in the British tropical
regions will provide training grounds for each other in this way.

The finances of the University College fall into two sections the money
needed as capital for buildings and equipment and that needed for recurrent
expenditure to meet salaries, wages, departmental grants and general running
expenses. The agreement between the British Government and the Colonies
in the scheme is that, in general, capital is provided from the higher education
allocation of the Colonial Development and Welfare Fund while recurrent
expenditure is to be covered by contributions from the revenues of the
Colonies. For the capital a sum of 1,500,000 has been provided and in

addition a sum of not exceeding 410,000 towards the cost of building and
equipping the hospital. The Government of Jamaica has contributed 250,000
towards the hospital from its own allocation of Colonial Development and
Welfare grants. Large as these sums may seem, it must be remembered that
everything must be provided from scratch and that they may have to provide
not only buildings, but books for a library of university standard, laboratory
equipment and apparatus for science and medical departments, furniture for
undergraduate accommodation, for lecture rooms and offices, roads, drainage,
sewage disposal, light and water and a multiplicity of other items. It has
already been pointed out the grants at present day prices are insufficient for
all the buildings and equipment needed and temporary arrangements will be
made until further financial support is forthcoming.
As to recurrent expenditure a conference was held at Montego Bay in
1947 at which the Governments of all the Colonies in the scheme were
represented. They agreed to provide the necessary funds for the period 1947-
1953 and to share the cost in proportion to their populations. This means that
Jamaica bears 45.4 per cent. Trinidad 17.9 per cent., British Guiana 12.9
per cent., the Windward Islands 10.3 per cent., Barbados 7.4 per cent., the
Leeward Islands 3.9 per cent. and British Honduras 2.2 per cent. It was
further agreed in principle that after 1953 when data would be available for
better estimates, money should be provided in quinquennial grants, as in
Great Britain with the Universities Grants Committee, with freedom for the
University College to expend as it thought best. The conference in 1953 will
review the existing arrangements for sharing the burden and decide on the
first of the quinquennial grants. Money is scarce in the Caribbean because
the productivity per head of the population is low and government revenues
are much smaller than in Europe. This is the fact that is sometimes overlooked
by critics of the existing hospitals, prisons and welfare services. All of these
could be improved no doubt, but where under the present economy is the
money to pay for the improvements? It is unlikely, however, that the
University College will be seriously hampered by lack of money though it
will not be able to undertake the comparatively lavish expenditure that is
becoming common in Great Britain. It is generally realized that the University
College should be a factor, and an important factor, in the development of
the Colonies. This is the only sure road to increased revenues, and this fact
is an overwhelming argument for supporting it adequately.

On the academic side something must be said of the University College
as a future contributor to the world of learning. The College will fail in
realizing its ambition if it does not take its place in that world as a centre
where active work goes on and useful additions are made to the stock of
knowledge. If it fails, it will not be for lack of opportunity. The Caribbean
is still to a surprisingly large extent an unexplored territory. Work has been
done in its history, its geology and natural history, its economics and social
conditions, but the surface has only been scratched. Here we have great
hopes and a beginning has already been made. An Institute for Social
and Economic Research has been established through the financial support

given by the Colonial Social Science Research Council and a Director was
appointed in 1948. He is a West Indian, born in the tiny island of Nevis in
the Leewards, and a graduate of Cornell and Harvard. Staff is being recruited
and there are plans for enquiries to be carried out in several of the Colonies.
This work will be of value in a variety of ways proper fiscal provision is
almost impossible to make in many of the Colonies because of lack of
knowledge of national income the economics of tropical agriculture, and
especially of peasant agriculture, need much more attention. It will also be
of great value to the University College which soon must undertake instruction
in the social sciences and will look to the Institute for the facts on which to
base its teaching. In addition to subjects such as these, there are opportunities
for useful work in practically every field, though admittedly certain subjects
which demand all the resources of a highly developed technical industry,
such as a part of modern atomic physics, will not be so suitable. For the
biological sciences the area covered by the Colonies in the University College
scheme contains examples of nearly every tropical habitat, from the rain
forests of British Guiana to the coral islands of the Lesser Antilles, and
perhaps before long the College will be able to maintain field stations in
varied places for the use of research workers. There are already plans for
establishing a station for marine zoology the site has been chosen about
ten miles away from the University College and the land leased from the
Government of Jamaica. In medicine and the medical sciences there is much
to do, though Jamaica is too healthy a place for many tropical diseases.
Tropical nutrition is of the greatest importance, especially if one thinks of
the development of the human resources. Agriculture is already largely
provided for by the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture in Trinidad, but
many of the basic problems are those of zoology, botany and chemistry and
need attacking in university laboratories. Historians have their chance not
only in archives of the West Indian governments but also in their comparative
proximity to the archives of Central America and the northern parts of Latin
America. In physics there are the unexplored regions of bio-physics and
soil physics. For archaeologists there is possibly not much. This is an area
where the original inhabitants were comparatively primitive people. British
Honduras has its Mayan relics but it will be hard to compete with the wealth
devoted by the United States to the exploration of Mayan civilization. It is
clearly the duty of the University College to encourage all these studies and
hence one of its first tasks is to build up its library and laboratories to a
standard where they can be the beating heart of active investigation.

The University College began its work in October, 1948 without any
flourish of trumpets. Undergraduates came into residence, classes and lectures
began and there was no public ceremony. There were, however, audible
flourishes of trumpets and much ceremony in February of this year when
the first Chancellor was installed. This has been described in the West Indies
as the most impressive ceremony ever seen there. The setting was the ground
where, as mentioned above, future test matches may well be played and a
simple dais with a screen behind it had been erected. The audience was

between three and four thousand and included five of the Governors in the
Caribbean, representatives of all the legislatures, of the Churches, of the
professional associations and of the people. The Principal's procession entered
led by the undergraduates in their scarlet gowns, then the academic staff and
the members of the Senate and of the Council. Representatives of universities
followed and then the Vice-Chancellors of St. Andrews, London, Birmingham,
and McGill and then the Earl of Athlone in his robes as Chancellor of the
University of London, the train held up by his page, a Jamaican under-
graduate in scarlet gown. Later in the ceremony there was a fanfare of
trumpets and H.R.H. Princess Alice was led on the dais followed by her page,
a woman undergraduate from Grenada, carrying the Chancellor's robes on
her arm. And so the ceremony proceeded with proper dignity and its effect
was enormous. Many of those present were profoundly moved as messages
of congratulations and encouragement, many of them beautifully engrossed,
were presented to the newly installed Chancellor, messages from Harvard
and Chicago, from New Zealand and South Africa, from Oxford and
Cambridge, from universities in England and Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The members of the University College were moved too it made them realize
that they now had some claim to belong to the commonwealth of free
universities and that they must earn their membership. They were moved
also by the presence of the Chancellor and the Vice-Chancellor of London,
their foster-mother it was a sign that the relationship between them was no
pretence but an active co-operation.
There were other ceremonies as well. Foundation stones were laid and
speeches made and finally there were services in the Roman Catholic Cathedral
of Holy Trinity and in the Anglican Cathedral of St. Catherine in the ancient
capital, Spanish Town. This latter is the oldest ecclesiastical building in the
British Caribbean, the existing structure dating from 1714 after the first had
been destroyed by hurricane two years earlier. Some present in the Cathedral
that day heard prayers which they had last heard in the college chapels of
Oxford and Cambridge and which they had never expected to hear in the
West Indies. All these ceremonies ended with the departure of the Chancellor
from Kingston Harbour in a cruiser, with members of the staff in academic
dress on the quarter-deck taking their leave and the Chancellor's own version
of the Royal Standard flying at the fore-mast. This is all very suitable for
a University College set in an island in a tropical sea, but it must be the
first time that such a thing has happened in the long history of universities.

For those who do not know the West Indies it will be as well to say
something of the race question. It has been suggested above that in its earlier
history an island like Jamaica can be compared with one of the southern
states of the United States of America, but the parallel is by no means close
in later history. There is no colour bar in the Caribbean Colonies. Children
of all races go to the same schools positions in Government are open to all.
The present undergraduate population of the University College contains
representatives of most of the many strains that have built up the population,
African, Chinese, European, Levantine and Indian. They differ in colour and

1 4*

physiognomy, but they live together happily and, as is right and proper,
hardly think of their physical differences. So may it remain. There is no
future prosperity or happiness in regions such as these, where many races
have mingled, if questions of race arise. All must recognize their equality as
men and work together for the good of the whole community.

There is one department of the University College which raises special
problems and deserves special mention, the Department of Extra-Mural
studies, now under the direction of Mr. Philip Sherlock, a member of the Irvine
Committee. The remarks made above on the geography of the Colonies show
where the problems lie. The universities of Great Britain have assumed extra-
mural responsibilities far from their immediate neighbourhood, but for them
far means at its furthest less than a hundred miles. In the West Indies the
distances are so much greater to revert to an earlier parallel, it is as though
the University College of the South West in Exeter had to think of organising
work in Newfoundland or Constantinople. The solution is the appointment
of a Resident Tutor in each of the Colonies to be the chief organizer of this
work. The responsibility is great and in some respects goes beyond what is
normally expected of those who hold extra-mural appointments. The tutor
must be the local representative of the University College, its outpost and
its public relations officer, dealing in the first instance with applications for
admission, enquiries about syllabuses and a multitude of details. For the
University College to keep in proper touch with its Resident Tutors is not
easy when there is so much to be done on the spot. Nevertheless, there are
now seven tutors at work, from British Honduras through Jamaica and the
Lesser Antilles to Trinidad and British Guiana and their enthusiasm and
energy is being rewarded by the response to their work, local enthusiasm and
energy which is increasing all the time. The best way for the University
College to support this work will be learnt by experience and it must be
learnt. The success of the College depends on the goodwill and enthusiasm
of the people of the Colonies and for more than half of these the Extra-Mural
Department is the only one with which they are in personal touch.

There are many other points which could be discussed; the support the
University College has already received from generous benefactors, the further
support that it needs and will continue to need. This latter is particularly
true in scholarships the low income for each head of the population means
not only that many able boys and girls cannot be financed at the University
College from family resources, but more than that, the Government revenues
cannot provide state scholarships and exhibitions on anything like the scale
which is possible in more wealthy countries. Generous benefaction for this
purpose would go far in assuring the future usefulness of the University
College and also the future development of the West Indies where much
valuable brain power has been wasted in the past through lack of opportunity
for proper mental training and discipline.

Let me close on a somewhat different level. Not only do we hope that
the University College will become a mental training ground for the able
young people of the West Indies and that it will be a centre of intellectual
life which will broaden interests and encourage aspirations, but we also expect
that it will provide other opportunities. Because of its position, the College
has already had to begin the teaching of certain trades. It has its own book-
binding shop and its own scientific workshop and West Indians are already
being trained to bind books, to blow glass, to work in wood and metal and
to be laboratory technicians. All the laboratory benches, cupboards and racks,
and all the furniture for undergraduate rooms and offices are made from the
local woods in the College's own joinery shop. (As the Vice-Chancellor of
London remarked when she saw this going on, one of the conditions which
it seems must be fulfilled in choosing the site of a new university institution
is that there should be an ample supply of good local wood). As soon as
funds can be obtained, the University College will undoubtedly set up its
own printing press and not only use it for its own purposes but also, it is
hoped, strive to raise the standard of printing in the West Indies. Hence even
in the manual trades the University College has its part to play in the future
of the British Caribbean Colonies.

[Reproduced by kind permission of the Editor of the Universities Review]

(Reproduced from Caribbean Quarterly, Vol. No.


Drugs From The West Indies
Chemistry Department, U.C.W.I., Jamaica
NOWADAYS it is often argued that the threat of a third World War diminishes
with the upgrading of living standards in more and more of the poorer
countries to the level of those in the better equipped countries. This is a sort
of social pressure which works alongside the forces of nationalism to improve
living standards, through the conquest of ignorance and disease in the lesser
developed territories with the minimum of dependence upon others. To deal
with the aspect of the conquest of disease, every nation must carry out its
obligations to safeguard the common heritage of world health, if it is to keep
the trust of others. It must be able to protect its own health, and in con-
sequence the health of its neighbours. Moreover, if it would stand on a foot-
ing of equality with other nations it should contribute towards the discovery
of cures for the ill-health in the world. To make this contribution, non-
industrialised nations such as those in the West Indies should direct most
of their actions towards suitably developing their natural resources.
Scientific research is a necessary part of every country's plan for the
development of its natural resources. It is a long term economy which may
best be utilised through a permanent agency set up for the specific purpose
of obtaining and co-ordinating the results of such research. This essay attempts
to show why a Caribbean government organisation should be established to
encourage the exploitation and development of the flora of the West Indies,
for possible sources of new drugs, through application of the results of both
local and overseas phytochemical research. Such a research organisation could
he run efficiently on less than 0.2 per cent. of the gross national product of
any of the progressive economic units making up the West Indies 0.2 per
cenW. of the national income was the figure recommended for basic scientific
research to all countries by a N.A.T.O. study group consisting of eminent
scholars, who met in 1960 in the Foundation Universitaire of Brussels. There
is another factor which should encourage a West Indian government to
finance this sort of research project. The weight of public opinion would
almost certainly favour a government body searching for drugs in the many
West Indian plants reported by folk-lore to contain medicinal principles.
People should support such action because of the promise it would bring of
crystallising their own myths. And the chances are that this promise may
well be fulfilled! For there are examples of the discovery of powerful new
pharmacologically active substances in West Indian plant species. The
Jamaican periwinkle (Vinca rosea L.) makes a "bush-tea" which is described
locally as a cure for colds and fevers. From this periwinkle, chemists have
lately extracted a new drug called vincaleucoblastine which can cure some
forms of cancer. Wild susumber (Solanum verbascifolium L.) as well as
other members of the botanical family, Solanaceae, are used among country
folk for their insecticidal and other biological properties. From wild susumber,
a chemical known as solasodine is obtainable which may be converted by
microbiological methods into hormones, growth substances of importance to
health and well-being in humans. There are other cases of how chemical study
of the lush West Indian vegetation has yielded valuable results over a period

of less than ten years. Any West Indian reader can add to the periwinkle
and the susumber a long list of local plants which reputedly lower blood
pressure, cure the social diseases, and so on. Of course, collaboration in this
research may be desirable between the government and interested individual
institutions at home and abroad. But any new sources of drugs would be of
greatest economic benefit to the countries to which the plants are indigenous.
Health is a necessity for the full enjoyment of life. In order to maintain
it and to improve it, today, we rely on hormones, on substances which alleviate
pain and cure the diseases which afflict mankind, on insecticides by which the
destroyers of food and clothing and the carriers of disease are destroyed, and
on anaesthetics which enable the surgeon to perform operations which would
otherwise be impossible. These substances are often synthetic, they are built
up in the laboratory by chemical means from simpler, more readily available
materials. However, the formulations of many of these drugs are planned
according to the formulations of those chemicals of similar physiological action
which were previously extracted from plants. The rest of this essay will show
in special cases how new drug formulations arise from the results of the
chemical studies of plant products.
This type of development work is undertaken by the practitioner of
chemistry rather than the pharmacist. The pharmacist or dispensing chemist
is concerned with the accurate dispensing of medicines prescribed by the
doctor, and these medicines are compounded of known drugs. But, the
research chemist in this field of study sets himself the more difficult task
of finding entirely new remedies, often from among new types of substance
in which there would be no reason to suspect therapeutic action. This chemist
sets out to learn the detailed formula which is the chemical structure of his
new compound, in terms of the types, numbers and arrangements per group
of chemical atoms that make up the compound.
We know that chemistry teaches that every material thing is ultimately
composed of a pattern of atoms (i.e. chemically indivisible units), which is
called a molecule. Chemistry teaches that the geometry of the molecule of
any compound and the manner in which its constituent atoms are bonded
together determine all the sensible qualities of the particular compound. The
molecules of ammonia (I), of ethyl alcohol (II) and of carbolic acid (III)
are represented by the following chemical formulas.

1A 0

t4 H-

H, C, N and 0 represent the relative positions of the atoms of hydrogen,
carbon, nitrogen and oxygen respectively, bonded in the manner represented
by the straight lines. Carbon atoms are sometimes represented by the inter-
section points of the bond-lines in the formula, (see (III)). The greater the
variety of known patterns which perform, say, a specific biological function
the better equipped the chemist becomes to synthesise similar biologically
active molecules. Such "man-made" molecules, produced by imitation and
-often by variation of the groups present in known substances, are the new
and sometimes improved drugs. There are many examples of how the
chemist has been able to improve on Nature by using as a model for his
synthetic skill some medicinal substance which he has extracted from a plant.
For instance, there is the new analgesic, alphaprodine (V), which can replace
morphine (IV) or codeine (VI), as a chemical for the relief of pain. Alpha-
prodine is synthetic and is analgesically more powerful than morphine, which
is extracted from the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum L.). Alphaprodine
was made in imitation of the structural pattern of the morphine molecule,
according to a theoretical relationship established between structure and
physiological action in the morphine molecule.

0 1

a o h a

Herbal remedies have been used by man for more than five thousand
years. Perhaps in every country these traditional remedies have been evolved
by a process of trial and error, and they include drugs of real value as well
as many that are worthless. However, it was only about a hundred and fifty
years ago, with the great development of the basic science of organic chemistry,
that plants were first examined and their physiologically active constituents
isolated in a pure state. Structural investigations of these pure plant drugs
have been extremely valuable in suggesting general relationships between the
architecture of a specific molecular type and its pharmacological behaviour.
Here is a chemico-pharmacological relationship of interest to the West Indian
reader. A blood-sugar lowering substance called hypoglycin A (VIII) has
been found in the Jamaican ackee (Blighia sapida Koen.). It may be meta-
bolised within the human body into the acid (VIII). Compare the molecule
(VIII) with pent-4-enoic acid (IV) and the cyclobutyl compound (X). Like
hypoglycin A, the molecules (IX) and (X), which have not been found in
the ackee, show hypoglycaemic action. So it is conceivable that hypoglycaemia

in animals may be associated in these molecules with the grouping (C=C)
separated by two carbon atoms from the group (O=C-OH). Unfortunately,
these simple molecules, (VII) to (IX), are unsatisfactory as anti-diabetes
drugs because they produce undesirable side effects and allergies in treated
cases. To develop better blood-sugar lowering drugs of this molecular type,
the chemist may then synthesise new substances which incorporate, firstly,
the basic chemical relationships found in (VII) to (IX) to be associated
with hypoglycaemia, and secondly, such chemical groups as would free the
new compounds from undesirable side effects. This requires the chemical
combination of simple substances like (I) with other easily available molecules
by the usual techniques of heating, mixing, irradiation and electrical treat-
ment. Then all that remains is for the pharmacologists and the clinicians to
test the resulting chemical combinations in test animals and humans.

1.4 ,H 0 I

\ / \ I _C
C H o 0-
H o /

I H 0

\ / / \0

V H -H


Such a process was performed in the development of alphaprodine (V)
from morphine (IV). This process will be repeated again and again for this
and other drug types as structural elucidations come to be performed on the
wide variety of still unknown molecular types which are elaborated by plants.
The methods of chemotherapy involve the selective destruction by
chemical agents of parasites which produce within the host such ailments
as malaria and sleeping sickness. This developing science has shown us that
living microbial parasites may acquire resistance to a particular drug which
was able to destroy their parents. This is an important problem. A new drug
shows high promise in the treatment of an infectious disease; but, after a time
it becomes very much less effective. The reason? Perhaps this phenomenon

points to some factor inherent in the nature of biological response of the
living parasites to changes in their environment. However, it is a warning
against complacency. It underlines the need for us to be ever in quest of
new drugs to replace those which lost their efficacy. This is a technical reason
in favour of the existence of a West Indian institution which may join in the
battle against disease-carrying germs that are even so much more prevalent
in the tropics. Further, this kind of organisation should tend to curb the
unfortunate one-way movement of scientific talent towards the more highly
industrialized countries.

There must be other practical reasons for the initiation of a vigorous
search in our flora for that safe drug from the Caribbean, which could protect
human flesh from the effects of radioactive fall-out!

Political Education in the Developing Caribbean


JAMAICA, British Guiana, British Honduras and the remaining West Indies
Federation all share with the developing areas of Africa and Asia the features
of societies that are engrossed in rapid fundamental change in the social,
economic and even cultural spheres through the re-organisation of political
power. In other words, erstwhile colonies have either had or are in the process
of having important areas of effective power transferred to them by their
metropolitan guardians. So those who in a colonial system were accustomed
to carrying out decisions taken elsewhere by other people are now finding
themselves as the actual decision takers on matters of the greatest importance
in the development of their country The logic of this is the increase in the
actual numbers of Jamaicans, British Guianese and West Indians who are
likely to be called upon in the future to exercise leadership roles in the running
of their respective countries. This in turn means that priority should be given
to the creation of an informed and interested public opinion that will be able
to respond to the new and arduous roles. The creation of such a public opinion
entails a vigorous programme of political education at all levels of society,
not only for leaders but also for that great army of men and women who
will be responsible for choosing the leaders.
It has been said that the study of politics is everywhere a response to
a belief that there is a crisis('). Using Jamaica as a frame of reference, certain
questions must be asked. Firstly, is there a crisis or more precisely, is there a
sense of crisis? Secondly, if there is a sense of crisis, what has been done about
it in terms of political education? Thirdly, if anything has been done, what
has been the true nature of the effort and extent of its operation? Lastly,
in the light of the present and likely future needs, what should be the nature,
content and orientation of political education for the territories in the British
Is there a crisis so strong as to create among the people affected a genuine
awareness of this crisis? The threatened breakup of the West Indies Federation
is ground enough for the inhabitants in the Eastern Caribbean to feel that
they are facing critical times. In Jamaica developments over the past eighteen
months have produced the feeling that all is not well with the polity The
recent assertion of the non-privileged classes in Kingston and in other urban
areas in the island, the increase in the wildcat strikes and the impression given

*Staff Tutor in Government, Department of Extra-Mural Studies, U.C.W.I.
fAs a result of a Referendum poll taken in Jamaica on September 19, 1961,
Jamaica opted to leave the three year old Federation of the West Indies. British
Guiana and British Honduras, the mainland colonies shared certain common services
but were not members of the Federation.
(1) See References at the end of Article.

of complete lack of confidence between labour and management, have forced
into the consciousness of Jamaicans the disruptive factors and divisive
elements existing in their developing society. The outcry against the "haves"
by the "have-nots"* and the almost self-righteous reaction of middleclass
groups, must be added to the causes of this condition of crisis in Jamaica.
For here as in parts of Africa and Asia, the process of commercialization and
industrialisation of the economy has failed to effect equitable distribution of
wealth and the result is the absence of any real correlation between economic
development and political and social conditions. The further result has been
the intensification of class tensions underlined, in the case of Jamaica not
only in terms of economic wealth, but specifically in colour as well. This in
turn has given rise to the creation and strengthening of political and cultist
groups which give expression to their frustrations either from a party platform
built on planks of racism or through some religious creed which confers
divinity on Emperor Haile Selassie, "the Lion of Judah" and places exag-
gerated-in fine, unrealistic-hope in the Promised Land of the Black
Israelites-Africa(2). Then there are many who fear for Jamaica's economic
future in view of (a) Britain's plans to enter the European Common Market
(b) the Tory Government's decision to curb migration of Commonwealth
citizens into Britain (c) the possibility of flight from capital investment from
Jamaica through lack of confidence on the part of foreign investors and
(d)Jamaica's recent decision to go it alone instead of sharing economic and
other burdens with the rest of the West Indian territories. The result of the
Referendum poll has indeed had the greatest impact on Jamaica. It has
left many of the ruling group all but prepared for independence which the
"No" vote implied. It has given the Opposition Partyt in Jamaica a new
dynamism which has in turn created some uncertainty of the future for the
Government Party. Closely allied to this is the questioning of the whole
rationale of the pattern of social and economic development which has taken
place under the present Government over the past seven years.

These are not problems which are in essence peculiar to Jamaica. James S.
Coleman in his chapter on the Political Systems of Developing Areas finds
similar critical features in some seventy-five "developing countries" which
he and his colleagues examined. () The specific critical features stated above
do seem to be rooted in the more fundamental problem that exists in Trinidad,
British Guiana, and Barbados as much as in Jamaica. In fact it faces the

*The slogan was popularised in the early part of 1961 by Edward Seaga, JLP
member of the Jamaica Legislative Council (Upper House).
tNo Vote: (against Federation) 251,935.
Yes Vote: (for Federation) 216,400.
(The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) whose leader Sir Alexander Bustamante
declared against federation as a matter of policy. This all but forced Premier Norman
Manley to pronounce intentions of holding a referendum to decide the future of Jamaica
in the West Indies Federation. Sir Alexander at the same time resigned as leader of
the Democratic Labour Party of the West Indies.
i.e. The People's National Party (PNP) in power since 1955. It has 29 seats
in the House of Representatives.

West Indies as a whole though in varying degrees. The growing sense of
economic deprivation on the part of lower-class groups, the concentration of
the conduct of national politics in one principal town* and the attendant
limited participation of the majority in the political processes, the disparity in
living standards between urban and rural inhabitants and the consequent
increase in migration from country to town resulting in problems of slums,
overcrowding and discontent-all these factors, according to Coleman, inhere
in the process of change from a colonial and underdeveloped country to an
independent modern society. The problems are compounded by the fact that
the transition involves aspirations to high rate of productivity, high per
capital income, extensive geographical and social mobility, a high degree of
industrialisation of the economy, an extensive network of mass communication
media and widespread participation and involvement of members of the
society in the social, economic and political processes of the country. Both
the problems and the aspirations point to a crisis and in the case of Jamaica,
the recent developments betray a keen sense of such a crisis.

The relevance of the study of politics and of a dynamic political education
programme is self-evident against this background of crisis. The establishment
of a Department of Government at the University College of the West Indies
with sections in Public Administration and Social Administration on the one
hand, and the appointment of Staff Tutors in Government and in Public
Administration in the Extra-Mural Department on the other, bears testimony
to the appreciation by the University College of the importance of political
education in an emergent Caribbean. The UCWI Department of Government
has developed from a sole lecturer in Political Institutions appointed in 1959
in the Department of Economics, to a full blown Department a year after
when, with the help of a grant made by the Carnegie Foundation for the
development of teaching, research, and training in public and social adminis-
tration, the present Department was created "as one of the two Departments
in the Faculty of Social Sciences, responsible both for teaching undergraduate
courses for the B.Sc. (Econ.), and for organising diploma and certificate
courses for advanced study in public administration and social work(4). This
leap forward came when problems of adjustment attendant on transfer of
power were making themselves more evident in this part of the world especially
in the federal sphere. Similarly, the need for political education at all levels
must have been one of the motivating forces which led to and have maintained
the "university of Woodford Square"-a unique phenomenon on the British
Caribbean scene.t The "University of Woodford Square" is itself an acknow-
ledgement by at least one leading Caribbean politician, of the existence of a
body of systematic knowledge on matters political which it is the duty of
every interested citizen-participant in a polity to assimilate as guide to taking

*e.g. Kingston (Jamaica).
tWoodford Square is a Park in downtown Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, used since 1956
as a political meeting place by the Premier of Trinidad whose well reasoned and
carefully prepared "lectures" formed the basis of his election campaign in 1956.

decisions about his and his society's governance. It also presupposes the need
for the general populace to take decisions about the selection of leaders or to
make assessments of their Government's policies and actions on the basis
of facts and of some degree of sound dispassionate reasoning. This points
to a level of sophistication which may well be the ideal of every West Indian
This problem of achieving an informed citizenry and of creating a mental
environment which will provide the fullest participation of citizens in the
decision-taking process and in the conduct of their own affairs are ones which
have long exercised the minds of adult educators all over the world, particularly
in North America.* The political education programme of the Extra-Mural
Department of the UCWI, currently the only University that serves a large
group of small emergent territories, aims at preparation for citizenship or
education for public responsibility. Such a programme concerns itself with
the scope and areas of leadership, with the political implications of popular
participation in the direction of a people's affairs, with the responsibilities
of an enlightened citizenry and with the implications of a shifting value-
system. In other words, the programme provides adults with a continuing
knowledge of developments and ideas in government, politics (and the
related disciplines) and of the crucial issues in the field of civic, national and
world affairs which are important to the individual in arriving at sound
decisions about his personal community or national life(').

What is the extent of the operation of these programmes of political
education in the Caribbean? The UCWI Department of Government is too
young for useful assessment at this time. Suffice it to say, however, that the
number of undergraduates reading the B.Sc. (Econ). has increased rapidly
over the past two years and so in the near future, an increasing number of
West Indians will have pursued University courses in Government-
i.e. institutions, political theory and administration. Many of these graduates
will be teachers and social welfare workers as well as public servants and it
can only be assumed that these people when they leave the University
equipped as they are, will find themselves placed in positions of leadership
in discussion groups, clubs, societies and the many other action groups which
are the essential of the democratic system. Yet, even if the number of graduates
from the UCWI and from universities abroad were to increase tenfold in the
next three years, the scale of operations in the field of political education
would still be limited. Between 1956 and 1959 the Extra-Mural Department
ran annual training courses in Public and Business Administration for periods

*As can be seen from the International Conference on University and Adult
Education held at Sagamore Conference Centre, New York in September 1960.
fThe following Number of students enrolled for courses in Politics.
B.Sc. (Econ.) 39 enrolled in 1959/60, 70 in 1960/61, 80 in 1961/62.
B.A. (General) 8 enrolled in 1960/61, 35 in 1961/62.
Public Administration 9 enrolled in 1960/61, 14 in 1961/62.

of three months, with the help of the Administrative Staff College, Henley-on-
Thames. "The [original] Course was designed for a maximum of forty
members drawn from all the territories of the British Caribbean and repre-
sentative of both government and business." The actual composition of
subsequent courses fell short of this, "but there was a wide range of experience
available" from among participants. The following is a breakdown of the
distribution by territory and the type of organisation represented. "Govern-
ment" indicates central or local government service. "Business" indicates
private industry or commerce.)

1956 1957 1958

Govt. Business Govt. Business Govt. Business

Jamaica and Dependencies ... 9 1 8 3 11 2
Trinidad ... 5 1 4 1 3 2
British Guiana ... 2 4 3 3 4 2
Windward Islands ... 4 1 -
Leeward and Virgin Islands ... 2 2 5 4 -
Barbados ... 1 1 1 1 1
British Honduras ... 1 1

TOTAL ... 23 9 22 8 24 7(l)

The Department as the adult education agency of the UCWI, is the
natural body to see to the less formal but nevertheless all important aspects
of political education e.g. preparation for citizenship. In fact a good deal
of Extra-Mural work has been oriented along these lines over the past ten
years. The advent of federation entailed the intensification of programme in
political education with a strong "West Indian" orientation. Lecture series
and study groups sponsored by the Department all the West Indian
territories concerned themselves with what may be vaguely termed "Carib-
bean Affairs" and sought to improve the adult's knowledge of West Indian
affairs, sometimes with special reference to economic and political studies.*

Again, the Radio Education Unit at the College for a long time
concerned itself with the preparation of material on public affairs for West
Indian consumption.

*e.g. The West Indian Affairs Study Group formed in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad,
in 1956.
1 5

Yet despite the efforts, formal and otherwise, of the Department, Roby
Kidd in his Report on the work of the Department found it necessary to write
in 1958
"In urging that the trained minds found in a university staff give a larger
measure of effect to the political education of the public, one is not
advocating that the university take a partisan stand or 'get into politics'
as such. Doubtless there may be some who will criticise university men
if they speak on any political issues. However, in the writer's own
experience, the chief criticism he has heard is that the university keeps
itself aloof from,i such matters, that it does not use its talents and
resources as widely as possible. [My emphasis] It should not be
impossible for the university to so present information, as well as various
opposing points of view, about major issues, so that the best traditions
associated with the university of free and thorough enquiry can be
applied to public discussion. Of all institutions it can hardly step aside
flom the main ideas and issues which are today the concern of every
citizen." (')
Since that time there has been positive thinking in the Department on the
responsibilities of University Adult Education in this field and tile Extra-Mural
Department now encourages, organises and teaches in Jamaica, the other
territories of the West Indies, British Guiana and British Honduras, a pro-
gramme of political education, i.e. political theory and how it relates to
practical experience, political institutions, public administration and political
history. Through this, the Department plans to help develop among the general
populace an awareness and knowledge of practical politics as well as an under-
standing cf public issues. By so doing it is hoped that leadership potential will
be developed through Government education. Clearly, since this work has only
just now begun, the time is too short to assess the impact it has made. Nor
is it advisable to speculate on the likely impact it will make. It need only
be recognized at this stage that in a time of crisis brought on by rapid change,
political education at all levels is essential so as to facilitate the necessary
adjustment. The press, the broadcasting services, the educational institutions
are the chief instruments of communication and information in the task of
educating the citizenry on public issues and in ways not likely to end up in
strict partisan politics.

The question now is what should this political education be, how should
it be approached and at whom must it be directed?
Some will argue that the rationale of political education is its capacity
for involving a large section of the populace and ensuring the fullest partici-
pation of the citizenry in the direction of national affairs through discussion.
This implies a programme that will accommodate peasant farmers and fisher-
men as well as clerks and university men and women. This wide and diverse
range of clients will no doubt weaken the claims of any discipline called
Political Education since it may be argued that there will be no limits to its
content and methods of study. The conclusion that is likely to be drawn

therefore, is that political education will best be done through five-minute
talks on radios, journalistic snap-judgments on contemporary affairs, or
'discussions around the subject" in adult education classes. This is a mistaken
view of the scope and content of the field of political education, and of the
capacity of the ordinary citizen to assimilate political knowledge. For a
programme based on serious work, i.e. sustained study through concentrated
reading and research by participants, can find response among several cate-
gories of citizens, given the proper guide and skilful methods of approach.
One can think of trade union leaders (branch organizers as well as top
executives), social welfare workers (grass root field workers as well as
administrators), management officials, police officers, youth leaders, members
of professions like Law and Medicine as well as the many other categories
of persons who, because of the position of trust they occupy in a community
or action group, may find themselves called upon at any time to give informa-
tion and re soned opinion on public issues. It is this group of people who
may be said to form the bulk of the "politically active" i.e. people who are
articulate and who between them run the life of the community. As Plamenatz
"such people create public opinion not in the sense that they order what
must be thought but by producing an effect to what they do and say."

Not every single citizen is going to be a member of this group at all times;
and this is even more so since politics tends to be a secondary matter for
most people. A recognition of this last fact will naturally help to set limits
to the field of Political education and will be all to the good so long as no
one loses sight of the object of producing what Plamenatz calls a free market
of ideas among people at all levels of society. The influence of the trained
and the aware through a developed network of communication of ideas
becomes, then, the measure of the success of any programme of political
What would be the content of such a programme? This tuins to some
extent on the nature of the discipline of politics though the question as to
whether academic politics is science or froth must be regarded as irrelevant
to the present matter. For the West Indian territories are at this time concerned
with the more meaningful question of whether people in these territories want
a society that is independent and democratic, "demanding thought and in-
telligence from its members", (9) confronted, as all developing areas are,
by complicated problems of social and political re-orientation. This is a major
problem for education in general though any conception of Political Education
as some kind of civics or current affairs taught in weekly half-hour periods is
decidedly a misguided view. For civics is but an aspect of a deeper and more
forceful body of facts, history and interpretation that draws on the established
disciplines of the social sciences though capable of possessing of itself some
consistency and inner dynamic. Speaking of political development in West
Africa, David and Helen Kimble outline the tasks of Extra-Mural Depart-
ments in the field of political education.
"Questions of central and of local government, are suitable for study and
discussion at many different levels."(10)

The task itself is bigger than this. For political education in a developing
country is multi-faceted.
It must involve a deliberate and sustained examination of different forms
of society within and outside of the citizen's experience. The fundamental
principles governing societal relationships and the resultant conduct of
individuals and groups in these relationships will add up to a discovery of
the world of society, in the citizen's interpreting it, and in his learning to
live as a responsible and responsive member of his own community.

Implied in the above is the study of institutions, not with a view to
picking out the "best" of this or that system, but rather to use the experience
of others gainfully as a means of throwing light on one's own practices. For
with the developments in many of the new countries one is forced to ask with
Professor William A. Robson "how far conclusions drawn from the experience
of one country can be validly applied to the political systems of the
countries?"(") This, West Indian territories must face especially where it
has long been assumed that British institutions are not only exportable but
are the only good and proper ones for this part of the world.

This in turn presents the citizen with the challenge of understanding his
society and its relations with other communities not only at the present but
in the past times. A study of history is essential. Much of the present-day
socio-economic features and conditions in the Caribbean cannot be fully
understood unless in the historical context of say, slavery. A knowledge of
the history of relations between the territories on the one hand and the Mother
Country on the other, the phased transfer of power by Britain and, indeed
the entire colonial system (from Crown Colony to full responsible Government)
will throw light on the nature of present political behaviour and attitudes.
Again, the so-called search for roots by West Indians, if search there is, can
only be explained in terms of the historical fact that the present population
of these territories is for the most part a transplanted one with Europe, Africa
and Asia as the chief resource areas.

Finally, political education for the West Indian must mean not only an
awareness of political philosophy, but also the formulation of a particular
philosophy that will match the political needs and realities of the area. Two
years ago the Editor of the West Indian Economist pointed to the need for
such a philosophy, reminding his readers that the existence of such a central
philosophy was "not incompatible with sharp differences on ways and
means."(1") In the West Indies the idea of natural unity is everything but
strong. The insular separatism between the territories is paralleled by strong
class-colour and, in some cases, race cleavages within some of the territories.
As it was with federation, so there is now in Jamaica, cause to wonder whether
there exists any real focal idea on which to base a common nationality. This
question will have to be faced as well by whatever polity is established
finally in the Eastern Caribbean, and out of all this everyone will further
be forced to ask themselves whether West Indians are in fact able to conduct
their politics on principle-foundations. One looks at the new Africa and sees
conscious attempts by the new leaders to cast their politics and, indeed, the

entire subject of African development in some kind of philosophical mould
that is consonant with what they feel are the political realities of their
Nothing as positive seems to exist in the practice of politics in the West
Indies. Is it that West Indians are fully satisfied with the stock of eighteenth
century liberalism on which they are bred? Or is it that they share in that
tendency among people in general to forget the place of thought in general
human culture? A young country concerned with providing bread and butter
for its hungry and increasing masses may very well display a philistine
indifference to anything that defies concrete expression, such as political
thought. Herein, of course, lies a challenge to political education in a
developing country which, by the very nature of its development, demands
of itself not only social engineering (in planning, and action that is) but also
reflection on the principle-foundations of the society. Thus the corrective to
the not unlikely impoverishment of West Indian life may very well be that
deeper hold on the history of our intellectual tradition. The fact is that in the
West Indies this tradition is the same as that of Western Europe-though a
peculiarly British brand of it. Despite assumptions to the contrary, this does
not make it easier for West Indians to decide among themselves on any body
of thought which can serve as a means to clarify and promulgate ideas so
that people can understand and direct their own affairs on a rational basis.
For West Indians, though "British", are sensitive to non-political pressures
which may be termed cultural and which have their roots not only in Britain
but in India, China, Africa and of late North America. Moreover, West
Indians every day appear more and more Jamaican, Trinidadian, Antiguan,
British Guianese and so on.
This is not by any means an argument for the invention of political
philosophy the Greeks did that centuries ago and addressed themselves to
a good many of the kinds of problems which developing areas at some time
or the other must themselves face. Ideas on nature, reason, will, power,
justice, equality, law, authority, obligation must be part of the political
education of a modern community. But for countries on the verge of
independence, a critical re-examination of the fundamental principles that
prop up the society must be an integral part of any such education. A bold
re-statement of values to suit the changing needs and circumstance must
inevitably follow.(") Freedom, the two party system, democracy, as concepts,
may be found wanting in their traditional forms especially when they come
to be applied to the conditions of developing areas and the West Indian
territories are no exception.
For the political educator this may pose serious problems of objectivity,
intellectual integrity, commitment and the like-problems which are going to
be deserving of future study by scholars working and living in erstwhile

*e.g. Kwame Nkrumah's Autobiography (Nelsons) 1957 1 speak of Freedom
(Heineman) 1961.
Chief Awolowo's The Path to Nigerian Freedom, 1947 Faber & Faber (Lond.)
and the speeches of Tom Mboya.

colonial countries. For the moment, it need only be remembered that some
of the most respected political philosophy over the ages did come out of times
of crisis, were written with a bias and were concerned less with what are
and more with what ought to be done. This was as true of Plato and Aristotle,
Hobbes and Locke as of Harold Laski of more recent memory. The oppor-
tunities now offered developing areas to formulate some coherent body of
thought which will satisfy their own peculiar needs could probably result in
the remarriage of political theory and political practice-a reunion which has
been the concern of a number of students of politics over the past eight or
so years. (1")
For at the end of it all, the task of political education is to provide a
person with the tools for knowledge of his world around him, for self-develop-
ment and for purposeful participation in an activity which in modem times
increasingly engulfs the political animal, Man. A narrow concentration on
contemporary events or on the formal machinery of government indeed falls
short of the requirements. Development in the understanding of the political
activity can come about only by that intellectual stimulus which inheres in
some kind of sustained and systematic study of the elements that go to make
up politics. This, indeed is the measure of a University's function in such
an important field of education for a developing area such as the Caribbean.


(1) Bernard Crick: "The American Science of Politics-Its Origin and Conditions"
Lond. 1959.
(2) M. G. Smith et al: "The Ras Tafari Movement in Kingston, Jamaica" I.S.E.R.
1960, pp. 48-54.
(3) G. A. Almond & J S. Coleman (Ed.) "The Politics of Developing Areas"
Princeton 1960, pp. 532 ff.
(4) Progress Report on the Department of Government, U.C.W.I. Mimeographed
Report 1960.
(5) International Journal of Adult and Youth Education UNESCO Vol. XIII
(1961) No. 3, pp. 137 ff.
(6) Director's Report on the Course in Public and Business Administration at
the U.C.W.I. Mimeographed Report 1958.
(7) J. R. Kidd: "Adult Education in the Caribbean: the Extra-Mural Depart-
ment of the University College of the West Indies" CAAE 1958, pp. 260-61
(8) John Plamenatz: "Psephology and Democratic Theory, (A British View)"
Article in Political Studies Vol. VI No. 1.
(9) Ernest Barker: "Education for Citizenship" OUP 1936 p. 8.
(10) David & Helen Kimble: "Adult Education in a Changing Africa" Report
on Inter African Seminar-1954, pp. 14-15.
(11) Quoted in article-"The Comparative Method of Political Studies" by Leslie
Lipson in Political Quarterly Vol. 28 pp. 372-3.
(12) Editoral-"The Federal Idea" West Indian Economist Vol. 2 (1959)
No. 3, p. 7.
(13) T. Mboya: Address to Racialism Seminar by Tom Mboya. (Extract printed in
"The Student" Vol. V 1961 pp. 22-23.
(14) A. Cobban "The Decline of Political Theory" Article in Political Science
Quarterly, September, 1953.

Book Reviews

FREDERIC G. CASSIDY JAMAICA TALK, Three Hundred Years of the
English Language in Jamaica. Institute of Jamaica, London: Macmillan and
Co. Ltd., New York: St. Martin's Press, 1961. 468 pages, 30/- net.

DESPITr intensive sociological and anthro-
pological surveys conducted in the Carib-
bean area in this century, one field of
investigation has remained virtually un-
tapped, the scientific study of the language
of its peoples. For this reason, Frederic G.
Cassidy's popular text Jamaica Talk is
hailed as a landmark in research on
Jamaican folk-ways.

As its sub-title indicates, the book is a
study of the English Language in Jamaica.
It is, however, much more than this, for
by presenting the facts of language against
their sociological, historical, and psycho-
logical backgrounds, Cassidy has produced
a veritable mine of information and
reference material, on which scholars of
various disciplines (and laymen too) may
draw at will. Amateur and specialist alike
will turn to him for words and phrases
connected with the people-their work and
occupation, their religious beliefs and super-
stitions, their outlook on the universe, their
attitudes to one another and to strangers,
their clothing, customs, entertainments, &c.;
and too, they will learn the folk-names of
the various animals, fish, birds, flowers and
plants, including invaluable medicinal ones.

The book is written in two parts, the
first dealing with the history, pronuncia-
tion and grammar of "Jamaica Talk" and
the second more lengthy section (333 pages)
dealing solely with its vocabulary. The
first section holds prime interest for linguists
and social anthropologists; the second caters
to the general.

A glance at the bibliography reveals over
200 items, many dating back to the very
beginnings of the English occupation of the
island. As the result of careful reading,
Cassidy has been able to antedate many
items in the Oxford English Dictionary-
an enviable feat among lexicologists. Among
others, he has found earlier citations for

barbecue (p. 98), gunfire (p. 108), sea
breeze (p. 110), key, meaning an islet
(p. 119), penn-keeper (p. 164), galliwasp
(p. 283), ground dove (p. 300), and jack
as the name of one species of fish (p. 319).
Occasionally he has antedated a dialect
item listed in the Dictionary of American
English and the Dictionary of American-
isms. Such, for example is the tobacco once
known as bulls face (p. 206).

Since a large number of Jamaicanisms are
merely reservations of formerly accepted
English words, it is not surprising that
Cassidy has been able to post-date the
O.E.D. entries. These words include shed,
a word meaning "that the ears (of corn)
are formed and separate themselves from
the stalk" which the O.E.D. last records
in 1659 (p. 98); again, implying failure to
continue, recorded in O.E.D. for 1602 and
1611 only (p. 108); ground (p. 96); nomo
(p. 126) quitter (p. 135), bill (p. 145),
fadge (p. 149), and blow for bloom (p. 153).

He has also made a number of corrections
in the definitions, explanations, and etymo-
logies given in the bibliography. He found
that some words were omitted or mis-
classified by the O.E.D. Canehole (p. 88)
is not mentioned at all, while yampi is listed
under yam, instead of being a separate
entry (p. 342). Cassidy takes the D.A. to
task for its etymology of "braata", what
is added for good measure after a sale
(p. 211), scores Martha Beckwith's explana-
tion of pukkumerian (p. 234); brushes aside
Banbury's obviously naive derivation of
duppy from doorpeep (p. 247); and ques-
tions the many legends associated with the
John Crow (p. 306).

He discusses, but fails to determine, the
etymology of such words as sagwa (an
amusement, medicine show); Lomas land
(land of the dead); cauchie (the whistle
blown to indicate various work times);

obeah (local witchcraft and the tools of the
trade); and Ben Johnson Day (the day of
the week when there is little in the larder).
For galliwasp (p. 284) he calls upon
students of Caribbean Indian language to
take up the chase where he leaves off. We
hope they will.

Cassidy's brilliant achievement as lexi-
cologist is, however, marred by inaccuracies
which might have been avoided, had he
taken nothing for granted and counter-
checked every single item found in texts
written by living authors. Thus, when he
derives rydim (buttocks) from "ride him"
rather than from "rhythm", the whole idea
of the rhythmic motion of the buttocks as
one goes one's way is lost in a somewhat
racy suggestion. The same is true of
righted (of a right mind), the meaning of
which eludes him altogether, so that he
equates it with raatid (wrothbd, meaning
very angry). Another such is pran, which
is an abbreviated form of "promise" occur-
ring only in the phrase "to lick andi
promise", which then becomes "lick an'
pran" I Relying on the context in
"Dis 'oman scrub de floor
She lick an' pran de dutty room,"
Cassidy has given the meaning "to clean,
tidy, put in order", and proceeds to suggest
some relationship with prank (to dress up),
preen, primp, &c. He will want to include
"lick and promise" with its variant "lick
an' pran" in the next edition of Jamaica
Talk. The entire phrase is what has the
meaning of cleaning or tidying up, lick
referring to the haste with which it is done,
and promise to the intention of returning
to do it better. Thus to "lick an' pran de
dutty room" is to clean it in a hasty and
shoddy manner.

As indicated earlier, the linguist will find
the first part most rewarding reading. The
history of Jamaicanisms is discussed in
terms of the sources and the various
linguistic processes-back-formation, folk
etymology, aphetism, assimilation, dissimi-
lation, reduplication, &c.-which have con-
tributed to the present state of the

The section on pronunciation opens with
a description of the all-important differences
the intonational pattern of Jamaican
speech. The various sound changes and

alternations within the system are well
defined. Not as successful, however, is the
section on the grammar, which I find the
weakest in the text.

The author realizes that there is con-
siderable difference between the grammar
of the folk speech and that of educated
speech, but rather overplays the simplicity
of the former. Consequently a number of
the statements he makes are patefitly in-
correct. He takes issue with Russell for
reporting as "a device 'for emphasis' the
use of him immediately after a singular
noun" (p. 55). Perhaps Russell's example
was an unfortunate one, easily translatable
into Cassidy's "This teacher, he's very
cross." But what would Cassidy do with
the equally legitimate "you want hear Mary
him", (you ought to have heard Mary) in
which him serves no other purpose but that
of emphasis. Indeed, I have even heard it
used contemptuously for the same purpose
thus: "as for the Sarah it" (as for
Sarah) the added implication being that the
speaker cares little for Sarah.

He also claims that the form dart (that)
recorded by Russell has since died, but it
turned up in three of the sentences I
recorded in 1956, and is still very much
alive in the hills of St. Andrew above
Gordon Town. Then, when he gives as an
example of a relative pronoun "Me no know
who tief de spoon-dem" (I do not know
who stole the spoons), we are led to question
his definition of a relative pronoun. Nor do
I understand what he means when he argues
that sey in "You no know sey Rat is nice
meat?" (Don't you know that Rat is nice
meat), "loses full verb function and
becomes tantamount to a conjunctive
relative pronoun." (p. 63).

One of his biggest blunders is his analysis
of did-de in "Him fine say, cow no did-
deh." He is quite right in asserting that
"despite the spelling (which does not even
reflect the pronunciation) this is not a use
of did", but he is equally wrong in attribut-
ing did-de to "a reduplication of de, on
the pattern of many another African-like
form." What we actually have here is not
a reduplicated form, but two distinct words,
which by coincidence contain the identical
combination of sounds-de, the verb of
location, and de the adverb of location.

Cassidy mentions elsewhere the first of
these, but fails to define it precisely, merely
pointing out that it is "used like be in
other constructions too." (p. 59). If we
return to the illustration, a better rendering
would be "Him fine say cow no de de"
(he found that cow was not there). The
form di-de is merely the result of a disimila-
tion of two identical vowels.

Cassidy dispenses with the question of
word order in a two-lined paragraph
(p. 69) in which he says "the folk speech
has only the declarative pattern of the
Standard" He fails, however, to give any
examples to support this statement. It
would surely have been much more useful
to show what devices the folk substitute
for the "inverted and transposed orders"
of the Standard (whatever he means by

He compensates for the inadequacies of
the grammar by an excellent summary of
the grammatical situation in the second
paragraph on page 405. But, nevertheless,
he is reluctant to commit himself on the
question of whether Jamaica "talk" is a
separate language. Perhaps this accounts
for the absence of the term Jamaican
Creole, by which the language is now
identified in linguistic literature.
In conclusion, I reiterate what has earlier
been suggested. Jamaica Talk is destined to
be a standard text in the fields of creole
linguistics and social anthropology, and
will provide basic material for countless
papers, theses, and dissertations in those
disciplines concerned with human behaviour
in Jamaica. Furthermore, it points the way
to similar investigation in other parts of
the West Indies, providing the basis for
comparative studies of all kinds.

Faber & Faber, London 1961

THE AIM of this book is to demonstrate how
the African and neo-African is seeking to
make a culture of his own and in what
ways and why this culture differs with
regard to its basic philosophy of life from
culture of Western European origin. By
neo-African culture, he means the culture
of African transplanted to the Americas-
U.S.A., Cuba, Brazil, West Indies, Ecuado
Colombia, &c.

The basic thesis is that all African and
neo-African art and ,the African and neo-
African view of the world are founded on
the principles of Bantu philosophy. In
order to explain, "African", i.e. Bantu,
philosophy, Mr. Jahn draws on Father
Placied Tempel's Bantoe Filosofie An-
twerp, 1946; Marcel Griaule's Dieu d'eau
(Paris 1948) and Alexis Kagane's La philo-
sophte bantu-ru'andatse (Brussels 1951).
From these works he extracts four funda-
mental categories: muntu (human being),
Kintu (Inanimate things), Hantu (place and
time) and kuntu (modality). Ntu is a uni-

versal life-force which manifests itself
through the four categories and there is
another force "nommo", the creative word
of man which gives life and efficacy to the
world. The significance of this system to
the arts is that living significance is
breathed into Bintu plural of Kintu:
things, latent forces by the vivifying force
of "nommo" Mr. Jahn's final evaluation of
this process is stated in the following

"The enlivenment of existence which is
expressed in the creative attitude of Kuntu
and which makes possible a new designation
of the meaning of the world, may be the
contribution of Africa to the world culture
of the future." (p. 238).

Thus he affirms a new and possibly
salutary humanism, because as he sees it,
African philosophy puts emphasis on man's
capacity to give meanings freely to things
while technological culture tends to stultify
human creativeness and human freedom.

Illustrations of this thesis range over
African and neo-African literature, paint-
ing, sculpture, music, dancing, particular
attention being paid to Haitian voudou,
Cuban "santeria", which demonstrate the
survival of African cults in America, and
to the "blues" of North America.

While most of what Mr. Jahn has to say
on these matters is true enough, indeed,
well known to anyone acquainted with
reviews such as Prdsence Africaine or the
Black Orpheus, his extraordinarily broad
use of the word African becomes more and
more suspect as his exposition proceeds,
piling example on example of "African"

Can all African and neo-African culture
be traced back to the basic principles of
Bantu philosophy? After quoting poems by
Philip Sherlock and Basil McFarlane and
Langston Hughes, Mr. Jahn categorically
states that this is so:

"We may therefore risk the assertion that
the philosophical system we have been
sketching is valid not only for the Bantu
and the Dogon and the Bambara, but for
the African culture in general, both tradi-
tional and modern. And we may take it as
a touchstone in our further investigations,
when we want to know how far African
culture extends, what works of art, poems
and novels belong to it and what do not"
(p. 114).

Elsewhere he states that all poets of
"n6gritude" (see my article "The West
Indian Background of 'ndgritude' in the
Caribbean Quarterly) admit that they
"owe the sweep of their arguments and the
force of their self self-awareness to the
discovery of African philosophy" (p. 118).

Now even assuming that the whole of
African culture is pervaded by the prin-
ciples of Bantu philosophy (and Africa is
not only the Bantu area), and accepting
the idea of residual African culture in their
parts of America where there is a numerous
population of African origin, is it not
necessary to make an enormous leap in
order to be able to assert that all art by
peoples of African origin has its foundation
in the philosophy described by Mr. Jahn?

And what fills this unexplained gap? The
answer I think, is plainly a racial mystique.
Mr. Jahn has attempted to rationalize this
racial mystique which is at the root of
n6gritude, but has failed to do so because
the facts are not consistent with his

It is true, of course, that the coloured
artist in Cuba, Jamaica, Brazil, &c., may
want to produce a differential art, distinct
from the surrounding cultural environment
-whether British, French, crdole-Spanish
or cr6ole-Portuguese, in order to assert his
different individuality as a coloured writer.
This indeed has happened, and usually as
was very clearly the case with the Negro
renaissance in the U.S.A. in the 1920's,
is fundamentally a question of Negro
nationalism. Then, as now, in the set of
attitudes associated with the n6gritude
writers of today, could be observed the
phenomena of a withdrawal of allegiance
from the dominant (white) culture and the
search for alternative values within their
own tradition. In the Negro renaissance
the coloured American writers glorified in
primitivism and accepted the r61e of noble
savage, of child of nature, and this was
set up against the over-sophistication and
inhibitions of modem "white" civilisation.
It is also true that in his revolt towards
racial-cultural differentiation the American
coloured writer has tended to fall back on
folk culture and in so doing he is likely
to meet up with strong residual African
features (which may or may not have their
roots in Bantu philosophy), which will
possibly leave their imprint on his work.
He may also as has happened in countries
like Haiti, Brazil and Cuba, deliberately
seek out African features in the folk culture
and assimilate or utilize them. If he has
been brought up in a folk environment,
such elements may be very much part of
him, and even if he is set apart from the
folk environment by a middle-class up-
bringing, the middle-class may not be so
far removed from the people, whatever its
pretentions may be. This is certainly the
case of Haiti and the British West Indians.

According to Mr. Jahn, by following this
line, the artist of Negro origin in America
attaches himself to "his own tradition"
and through it can create works directly
out of the African tradition, thereby

"restoring the legitimacy of belonging to
an African culture" (p. 207). Only in this
way can he achieve creative freedom. This
process to Mr. Jahn appears at one and
the same time as right and inevitable.

The weakness of this theory becomes very
apparent when one examines the list of
"neo-African" or "re-Africanized" writers.
Leaving out, for the sake of brevity, a
number of African and Haitian writers, we
find the following: Telemaque and Selvon
of Trinidad; Carez, Carter and Seymour of
British Guiana; Basil McFarlane, Victor
Reid and John Hearne of Jamaica; and
George Lamming of Barbados. All these
have found their way back to their African
heritage, he states, although the enormity
of such a generalisation is slightly tempered
by the statement that "not all the works
of these poets are of the same intensity,

of the same importance in their re-adaption
of the African tradition" although even
in that "most un-African of West Indian
novelists, John Hearne" (p. 208) shows
characteristics of African culture in "The
Faces of Love", because he sets a society
of the future" and "uses that imperative
present which is one of the characteristics
of African culture."

"Munti" is withal, an extremely stimu-
lating and informative book and opens up
a vast field to anyone not aware of the
scope of African and neo-African writing,
although the critic may feel uneasy about
the extremes to which the author allows his
enthusiasm to carry him as he literally
leaps to conclusions that fit in with his
fundamental thesis.



by V. S. Naipaul

A HousE FOR MR. BISWAs is far and away
the longest novel Mr. Naipaul has written.
and far and away his best. The sardonic
eye with which he has always noted the
absurdities springing from the pretentious-
ness. the bombast, the hypocrisy and the
ungovernable emotionalism of his East
Indian community in Trinidad is as sharp
as ever. But this time there is no suspicion
that this obliquely selective viewpoint and
apparently casual understatement obtain
their literary effect at the cost of falsifying
human experience, or of forgoing a more
significant response to a portion of
humanity than that of the satirist. Some
of the most striking parts of Mr. Naipaul's
earlier work seemed to rely for their success
on his exclusiveness and mockery; this
long novel-it runs to well over 500 pages
-depends upon its inclusiveness and
sympathy. The irony, too, is here employed
more subtly and fruitfully, not so much to
strip away the pretences of unimportant
phonies, as to reveal the irreconcilable con-
tradictions of life itself.

The inclusiveness mentioned above is
concerned largely with the creation of an
environment; an environment within which,
to which, and conditioned by which the
many characters in the book establish
their relationships. The sights, sounds, and
smells of this environment are created by
an almost incredible number of detailed
observations. Each one adds something to
the general effect, and the totality achieves
an ambience of such density that to term
it "background"-with the implication of
"mere" attached-is to misrepresent it.
For it emerges clearly as one reads on that
the determining factor in the events which
take place, the element overriding even the
characters themselves-many of whom are
reduced, significantly, to a sort of codeword
nickname-is the realism of the East Indian
ambience. Mr. Naipaul's pointilliste tech-
nique depends for its success-and the
success is complete-on his powers of almost
total recall of sensuous impressions.

The novel tells the story of Mohun Biswas,
referred to throughout the book as Mr. Bis-
was, from birth to his death forty-six years
later. Biswas is the high caste son of an
East Indian labourer who dies trying to
rescue his son from a pool into which the
boy has not, in fact, fallen. He is brought
up in poverty by his relations, discovers a
small talent for sign painting and lettering,
and in the course of doing a job at the
Tulsi store in the township of Arwacas is
attracted to one of the Tulsi daughters.
Before he knows what is happening he is
shanghaied into marriage, his caste rather
than his person or prospects constituting
his attraction. Having no home of his own
he goes to live in Hanuman House, the
Tulsi home, and for most of the remainder
of his life fights weakly to prevent himself
from being swallowed up by the terrifyingly
engulfing Tulsi connection, ruled over by
the widowed Mrs. Tulsi and her son-in-law
Seth. His wife, Shama, being an unimport-
ant Tulsi, is not consulted in the marriage
negotiations and the benefits accruing to
Biswas therefrom are left vague.

"Neither on that day nor on the
following day did anyone speak to him
of dowry, house or job; and he realized
that there bad been no discussions
because Mrs. Tulsi and Seth didn't see
that there were any problems to discuss.
The organization of the Tulsi house was
simple The daughters and their
children swept and washed and cooked
and served in the store. The husbands,
under Seth's supervision, worked on the
Tulsi land, looked after the Tulsi animals,
and served in the store. In return they
were given food, shelter and a little
money; their children were looked after;
and they were treated with respect by
people outside because they were con-
nected with the Tulsi family. Their
names were forgotten; they became
Mr. Biswas had no money or position.
He was expected to become a Tulsi.
At once he rebelled."

Hanuman House pullulates with Tulsis.
Rival groups form and reform under the
influences of jealousy, sycophancy and hate;
affection is nonexistent. Life becomes a
ritual imposed by the environment, of
which the implacable will of Mrs. Tulsi
forms a part.

Mr. Biswas' first rebellion fails, as do
his later ones. He dreams of owning a
house of his own, and several times tries,
always unsuccessfully, to make his dream
a reality. At his death he still owes more
for his gimcrack dwelling than he could
ever have paid. His sole triumph is that
his wife has finally transferred her loyalty
from her mother and sisters to her husband.
He has been a sign painter, a truck driver,
a field overseer, a journalist and a govern-
ment welfare officer, but his greatest
achievement has been in not becoming a
Tulsi. He had never really known his
another, and he had never loved or received
love from her. He had never loved or under-
stood his wife and the childhood of his
four children had passed him by unnoticed.
Insecure, uneducated beyond a literacy
derived from Bell's Standard Elocutionist,
the Royal Reader and a few unintelligible
books (among them the stoical reflections of
Marcus Aurelius); desperately struggling to
avoid the octopoidal tentacles of a way of
life he neither understands nor likes,
Mr. Biswas goes down under the remorse-
less drowning waves of an environment
which places him in situations presenting
problems he cannot comprehend, avoid, or
solve. His attempts to cope with these
problems are as pathetic as his attempt to
cure his chronic indigestion with Maclean's
Brand Stomach Powder, and his life, like
his houses, is made up of a :series of
desperate facades resting on insecure

A split between Seth and Mrs. Tulsi
leads to a decline in the family fortune.
After a brilliantly written episode relating
the failure of the Tulsi women to make a
success of an upland estate, which gradu-
ally falls into ruin as the women labour
with indefatigable incompetence while their
parasitical husbands surreptitiously sell
what they can lay their hands on, the
family lands up in an overcrowded house in
Port-of-Spain, lacking now the one advant-
age of Tulsi-dom, security. More and more
people swarm into the house. Privacy, clean-
liness and silence are impossible and the
squalor grows. Frightened by the possibility
of a visit from the sanitary inspector
Mrs. Tulsi finally builds a wall around the

And every morning, his hair neatly
brushed, his shirt clean, his tie carefully

knotted, Mr. Biswas left this hell and
cycled to the spacious, well-lit, well-
ventilated office of the Sentinel.
[is desperate daily search for "human
interest" stories which will shock is a good
example of the new depth of Mr. Naipaul's
-ony, and it is one of many one could
oint to.
Conditions grow even more intolerable in
he house, but Biswas' fortunes improve
-hen he is employed as a temporary, war-
ime Community Welfare Officer by the
government. However he has to make room
or Mrs. Tulsi's son on his return from
studies in England. Biswas and his family
ow have to live in
a room in one of the tenements whose
rents "Shama had collected years ago.
The wooden walls were unpainted, grey-
black, rotting; at every step on the
patched, shaky floor, wood-dust excavated
by woodlice showered down; there was
no ceiling and the galvanised iron roof
was fluffy with soot; there was no
'rom this hole Biswas sets out daily "to
spread knowledge of the finer things in life.
Ie distributed booklets; he lectured; he
formed organizations and became involved
n the complicated politics of small villages;
nd late at night he drove back to Port-of-
;pain, to the tenement which was far worse
ban any of the houses he had visited
luring the day. Quite lacking any personal
Irive, he organizes courses in leadership
vhile remaining rebelliously dependent on
drs. Tulsi's hospitality.
The sole escape from the quagmire maze
-hat is life for Biswas and those like him

is through government scholarship to
secondary school. The competition is fierce
and the examination preparation corres-
pondingly brutal and stultifying. From the
dark basement of the Tulsi house comes
the constant cry of "Read and learn" as
the swarming children are flogged to their
books, or to writing compositions describing
happy outings at the seaside, reached in
Daddy's car and made memorable by
mounds of food packed in a hamper.
Amand, Biswas' eldest son, escapes by this
route, but for his father there is no escape.
There is no room for him in the Tulsi
house-that swarming microcosm of India-
nor beyond it. He lacks the means and
the knowledge to provide himself with a
house of his own, and he lacks the peace
of mind and environment which would
permit him to create a "home" out of the
insect-like conditions he has been born
into. His quandary, his "case", extends
beyond himself, and beyond Trinidad.
though Mr. Naipaul has many humorous
passages his dominant mood is one of
sympathy for a hopeless situation. His
comment, implicitly, not didactically,
moral is "Read and learn" The merit of
this sad, sympathetic and intelligent book
is that we are impelled to make comparisons
with our own situation, and in the light of
these to revalue our own experience. Find-
ing a house for the Biswases of this world
involves not only a change of address, but
also, and increasingly urgently, a change
of heart.


December, 1961.