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A History of the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan


The Centre for Educational Research and Development at VHI was interested in ways of  widening access to education, both nationally and internationally. One mechanism for doing this is to provide scholarships. Within this context VHI housed a research project on international scholarships between 2006 and 2009 designed to produce a history of the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan.

Learning Abroad CoverThe plan was set up by Commonwealth governments in 1959 and, over the next fifty years, enabled over 20,000 people to study abroad. The research project was directed by Hilary Perraton, then a research associate at VHI, and a historian with a background in international education who was at that time deputy chair of the Commonwealth Scholarship in the United Kingdom. The project resulted in the publication of his book Learning abroad: A history of the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (Cambridge Scholars Publishing) published in  2009 to mark the plan's fiftieth anniversary.

The work was funded by the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Nuffield Foundation, the British Academy together with the Association of Commonwealth Universities, and the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. The Canadian funding made it possible  to award the George Curtis Memorial Commonwealth Fellowship to a Canadian researcher, Ms Suzanne Lawrence of Simon Fraser University, who joined VHI as a research associate and worked with Dr Perraton on the history.

In order to tell the international story, local researchers were commissioned to produce country case studies from various parts of the Commonwealth which fed into the research. As a result the project had, as its outputs, both the book Learning abroad and the set of case studies on the scholarships plan available on this website. These are:


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