Since their foundation in 1901, the Rhodes Scholarships – which brought to Oxford students from across the settler colonies of the British Empire, America and for a time also Germany – have been held up as the model for the many international scholarship programmes established in their wake. More recently politicians and educators alike have claimed them as an example of a system that created the human capital of a global knowledge economy.

However, though impressive in scale, the scheme established at the turn of the twentieth century by the Will of the South African mining magnate, Cecil Rhodes, was not a unique one. Over the course of the previous half-century, governments, universities and individuals had been establishing travelling scholarships to carry students from the settler colonies to Britain. Read the rest of this entry »