75 years  

Education for Developing Countries 1973-1985

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Dr Henry Kaluba : student 1980-82 and 1986-90  

Henry recalls that the lecturers managed to teach a mixture of students who did not necessarily have English as a first language. He also makes particular mention of John Adams Hall, the students’ hall of residence:

"I came to the Institute in 1980 as an MA student and later in 1986 as a research student. On both occasions it was after very careful thought and selection because I turned down scholarships from other contending countries.

What do I remember about my time at the Institute? Lots of things, socially, culturally, as well as professionally. Socially there were many discoveries. Culturally a lot of encounters. Professionally it was extremely rewarding.  I remember during the time of doing my Masters programme that I was part of a culturally and professionally diverse student body.  That gave me I think a very big educational experience and I would like to believe that everyone went through a very rich learning experience during that time by meeting people from different educational backgrounds, different country experiences, and different professional orientations.  Academically, as pointed out by other speakers, we were supported by a well-committed and internationally experienced group of lecturers, many of whom are seated here. And I think within the academic realm I remember that we spent a lot of time of being exposed to and discussing a whole range of educational issues, ideologies and practices. I admired the lecturers because of the diverse nature of the students and they had to actually do a balancing act. We were not all from the same experienced background. We had students from Vietnam, Mexico, Venezuela, Zambia, Zimbabwe and so forth and for the lecturers to actually try and weave through this particular group and present a good discussion and lead it, it was indeed a very, a good balancing act. But they did it so well.  And I recall how sensitive they were to this particular student body. There were naturally some students whose command of English was still developing, but there was no rush. Everyone was given a chance to actually explain things, you know, very well. That I think remains in my mind.

I cannot talk about the Institute without making reference to John Adams’ Hall.   John Adams’ Hall deserves a special mention. It was a home in London for many overseas students. And lots of things happened there. I mention one. We nearly had a riot one evening. What happened was that we had one of those cultural evenings, organised by the students at JAH. On this particular occasion some very enthusiastic Institute students went and collected a few friends from outside the Institute and one of them decided, because of the music was very nice, to perform a belly dance. The students from that part of the world where the lady had come from almost caused havoc, because they protested that that was not representative of their culture and this and that and so forth. I was one of the organisers and I looked at him and said, “Look, I could actually ask some of the young and married African students to do better than what she had done. Would that persuade you to quieten down?”  He looked at me. I wasn’t sure whether he was contemplating taking up the offer or dismissing me with silent disgust!

Professionally I would like to say that I think I had a very good preparation for what I am doing now.  During the course of my work I have been able to meet a lot of former students, both those who were in my group, my cohort and those that have either been here after and those before. Indeed, I think without the experience that I have had I would have a bit of a gaps in the work that I am doing."

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Compiled and edited by Clare Bentall and Angela Little. First issued Spring 2005.