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Shirley C. Gordon (1920–2006)

Author of Reports and Repercussions in West Indian Education, 1835-1933

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Shirley Courtenay Gordon (1920 - 2006)

Shirley Courtenay Gordon was born in 1920. She was educated at the University of London.

Arriving in Jamaica in 1954 from London University, she joined the newly established education department to prepare history graduates for the education diploma at what was then the University College of the West Indies.

Realizing, at this time in the Caribbean, that the chief obstacle was the lack of study materials, Shirley spearheaded a team of West Indian historians in preparing The Making of the West Indies (1960), which became the standard history textbook throughout the region. This was followed by Sources of West Indian History (with F. Roy Augier and other, 1962), A Century of West Indian Education (1963), and Reports and Repercussions in West Indian Education (1968).

However, despite the support of Penguin Books, her attempt in the 1960s to improve the quality of West Indian primary education - with inexpensive workbooks and accompanying teachers' guides - was not a commercial success, and had to be abandoned.

She then went on to the University of Guyana and helped establish the College of the Bahamas as well as helped establish B.Ed and Masters courses at the University of the West Indies (UWI).

She was Professor of Education at Recife University in Brazil and spent her final decades as a consultant for the World Bank, Unesco and the Commonwealth Secretariat (1984-2006). In retirement in London, she continued her research into colonial archives, which resulted in the publication of two books on the Christianisation of Jamaica, God Almighty Make We Free (1996) and Our Cause for His Glory (1998) which won her recognition with a doctorate from the UWI.

A week after being admitted to hospital in London, England, Shirley died aged 85 in April 2006, leaving no surviving family.


Report on Educational Appraisal Mission to Grenada and St. Lucia (1979)
At Institute of Commonwealth Studies - Papers of Shirley Gordon, 1984-2006
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