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150th Anniversary
150 Years of International
Academic Excellence and Innovation

Anniversary Book

The People's University 1858-2008

Cover - Anniversary book

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Christine Kenyon Jones.

Illustrated Paperback - 224 pages.

‘The People’s University: 150 years of the University of London and its External students’

This book illustrates the huge influence the University of London External System has had on higher education, both in the UK and internationally. It shows how all of the English and Welsh universities founded between 1849 and 1949 offered University of London External degrees before they gained their own charters. It demonstrates the University’s role in founding several Commonwealth universities in the twentieth century, and describes the massive expansion of this system of higher education worldwide in the last 20 years. There are now more than 41,000 External London students in over 180 countries studying for some 120 awards (2008 figures).

The experiences of students form a major part of the book. It tells the stories of many alumni, including not only the famous ones but also those who achieved this degree in more ordinary circumstances and found that it changed their lives. Former students featured here include Nelson Mandela and several other national leaders; four further Nobel Prize winners; authors including HG Wells, DH Lawrence, CP Snow, Malcolm Bradbury, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka and Jack Higgins; distinguished academics including Lord (Asa) Briggs, Kwasi Wiredu and Sir Geoffrey Elton; judges and senior lawyers from many countries, and leaders of business and industry worldwide.

There is a special study of the London External System’s role in enabling thousands of British prisoners of war to take exams in the camps during both world wars, with many examples of the remarkable studies undertaken in these challenging circumstances.