Dudley Ransford Brandyee Grant (1915-1988) - The National Library of Jamaica

Dudley Ransford Brandyee Grant (1915-1988)

“The world is my country; to do good is my religion.” This was the motto of D.R.B. Grant; a motto that captures his life’s work in the field of education. Born on the 15th of September 1915 in Santa Marta, Colombia, to Annie Bond-Grant and James Grant, he, at a very early age, was brought to Jamaica by his parents. Here, he was educated at Maldon Primary School in St. James, and Mico Training College (now The Mico University College) in St. Andrew. In advancing his intellectual capacity, Mr. Grant also studied at Oxford’s Institute of Education in England (1952-53), Colombia University (1963) and Cornell University in the United States of America (1961-63); obtaining a Master of Science degree from the latter.

Career

‘Father of Early Childhood Education’, ‘great Jamaican educator’, and ‘the salt of the education system’ are just a few of the expressions that many have used to describe the work done by D.R.B. Grant. His career of almost forty years in education revolved around his passion for, and commitment to, the development of Early Childhood Education.

Mr. Grant’s career commenced with him serving as a primary school teacher in 1941. From here on and even during his retirement, he made an outstanding contribution to the development of education in Jamaica. His primary focus concerned teacher training for, and the facilitation of, Early Childhood Education. Between 1942 and 1962, he served as: Headmaster of Primary Schools – Bromley, Jack’s River, Water Valley, Goshen, and Morant Bay; Methods Tutor at Moneague Teachers College; Demonstration Teacher of a course sponsored by the Ministry of Education; and the first Principal of Caledonia Junior College. During this period he also obtained financing for the development of Early Childhood Education through the Bernard van Leer Foundation (B.V.L.F.) – based in Holland – and instituted the framework of the “Educational Plan” directed towards infants 3- 6 years old.

In 1963, Grant became a lecturer and foundation member of the Institute of Education, mandated to conduct academic research and practical orientation in the field of teacher training, at the University of the West Indies, Mona. In such capacity, not only did he conduct courses for Infant School teachers, but he also ingeniously created and advanced teacher training methods.

While at the Institute of Education, D.R.B. Grant played a critical role in implementing the Project for Early Childhood Education (P.E.C.E), financed by the Bernard Van Leer Foundation in 1966. He was charged with the responsibility of directing this project as well as the organization – Centre for Early Childhood Education (C.E.C.E.) – that was responsible for it. Initially, the P.E.C.E. was a three (3) years experimental program formulated to “apply current theories of learning and teaching, and child development, to the solution of certain problems in the island’s pre- primary schools” (Grant, ii), especially ones that catered to children who were being raised in less fortunate conditions. As a result of the program’s success, the life span of the project was extended for another three years. A comprehensive “on the job” teacher training program was implemented by the Government, and several essential economic needs of children and teachers were fulfilled.

Although, in 1973, the P.E.C.E was brought to an end and was succeeded by the Program for the Advancement of Childhood Education (P.A.C.E) in 1973- a highly beneficial program- Grant, being committed to the development of education in Jamaica, still sought financing from the B.V.L.F. for projects such as the Nain Resource Centre Training Unit in St. Elizabeth and the Teenage Mothers Project in different parishes.

Besides making a very notable and distinctive contribution to the development of education in Jamaica, Mr. Grant served as Visiting Professor at the University of Maryland, Vice President of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (U.N.E.S.C.O.) International Year of the Child as well as consultant for education projects in countries such as Bahamas, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Malaysia, Nigeria, Kenya, Colombia, Venezuela, and Spain.

Despite retiring officially in 1978, Mr. Grant continued his life’s work – aiding in the development of education- up until his death on August 25, 1988.

Publications

  • Living Conditions of Some Basic School Children
  • Life-Style of Children 1-3 in the Caribbean
  • Teaching Handwriting
  • Pains of a Child’s World
  • Teaching Reading
  • Longman’s Activity Arithmetic
  • Curriculum Manuals for Teachers of 4, 5 and 6 Year- Olds
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Training Teacher Trainers and Para- Professional Teachers

Awards and Honors

  • Roman Catholic Certificate of Distinction for Work in Education in Jamaica
  • Mico Old Students Gold Medal for Contribution to Education
  • The Institute of Jamaica Centenary Medal
  • The Gleaner Certificate of Merit for Work in Early Childhood Education
  • The Jamaica National “Commander of the Order of Distinction”- O.D. (1987) for Outstanding Work in Education
  • Dudley Grant Memorial Trust funded by the Bernard Van Leer Foundation and the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus
  • D.R.B. Grant Early Childhood Resource Centre at and established by the University of the West Indies, Mona
  • D.R.B. Grant Basic School established by the Ministry of Education and located in Catherine Hall, Montego Bay St. James.

Sources

Brusma, J. and E. Walters. Reports on the Research Studies on the Effectiveness of the Project for  Early Childhood Education 1967-1969. Bernard van Leer Foundation (B.V.L.F.), 1971.

Dickson, R. The Jamaica Directory of Personalities. The Gleaner Company Limited, 1987.

“D.R.B. Grant of Early Childhood Education Fame Dies.” The Weekend Star. August 26, 1988.

Grant, D.R.B. Training Teacher Trainers and Para Professional Teachers. Jamaica Publishing House, 1981.

Neita, C. Who’s Who Jamaica. Who’s Who Jamaica Limited, 1969.

Early Childhood Education Programme.  Ministry of Education, March 1983.

Williams, M. The Life and Work of D.R.B. Grant. University Printers, September 2000.