Farewell to a CEID Friend: Dr Hilary Perraton
By CEID Blogger, on 14 January 2022
Dr Hilary Perraton – died 15 November, 2021.
Hilary Perraton was associated with the University of London, Institute of Education, Education in Developing Countries (EDC) Department (now The Centre for Education and International Development – CEID), since the late 1970s. As a member of the International Extension College (IEC), Hilary worked with Michael Young (Lord Young of Dartington) and Professor Peter Williams of EDC, to establish postgraduate courses about distance education within the EDC international education programme. These courses ran from the early eighties until 2006. During that time, scholars and activists worked in EDC/CEID to research, write about and extend the use of distance teaching in newly independent countries across the world. In 1980, Hilary, together with Michael Young, Janet Jenkins and Tony Dodds, wrote ‘Distance Teaching for the Third World: The Lion and the Clockwork Mouse’. The lion was formal education via schooling and higher education, and the clockwork mouse was an alternative, via distance teaching. This early book was essentially an argument for using distance teaching to extend access to education for those who had missed out. It was to prove a manifesto and rationale for more than 40 years of committed research, scholarship, publishing, and activism aimed at helping many newly independent countries to extend access and improve the quality of education in lower income settings. In 1982, Hilary edited ‘Alternative Routes to Formal Education: Distance Teaching for School Equivalency’ which was published by the World Bank, but perhaps his best-known work was ‘Open and Distance Learning for the Developing World’, first published in 2000 by Routledge, and later, updated and published as a second edition in 2007. In retirement, Hilary turned his attention to researching the history of students who came from overseas to study in Britain. This work built on an earlier study Peter Williams had done entitled ‘The Overseas Student Question’. He researched and wrote two further histories of students who came to Britain to learn: (i) Learning Abroad: A History of the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan, published by Cambridge Scholars in 2009, and (ii) ‘A History of Foreign Students in Britain published by Palgrave-Macmillan in 2014. Throughout his life, Hilary remained a focused and committed international educator; a true scholar and supportive critical friend to most. He could be a tough critic but he was always kind, thoughtful, encouraging, and clear. He lived a driven and worthwhile life, dedicated to improving the lives of others through better education and opportunity. He inspired many people to work on hard things in the interests of improved education quality, fairness and equity. Hopefully in the future, more CEID scholars will be inspired by his work and life to push the Education for All project forward by whatever means feasible, relevant, and appropriate. Hilary’s wisdom, kindness and sound counsel, are already sadly missed.
Lecturer in International Education