Wally Morrow 2011


Walter Eugene Morrow was born on 15 July 1939 in Pretoria and completed his school education at Pretoria Boys High, where after he proceeded to study at the University of Witwatersrand obtaining his BA in 1961.

After completing his Transvaal Teacher's Higher Diploma at the Johannesburg College of Education, he taught English at two high schools in Johannesburg from 1962 till 1965.

In 1965, he joined the tertiary education arena when he was appointed as an English lecturer at the University of Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. He later joined the Maria Grey College in London where he taught Philosophy of Education. During this time, he continued with his studies and obtained a BA Honours from UNISA in 1964, an Academic Diploma in Education from the University of London in 1967 and an MA from the same university in 1968.

Prof Morrow returned to South Africa in 1972 and taught philosophy of education at Wits and UWC where he later became Dean of the Faculty of Education. In 1982, he was awarded his PhD from the University of London. Moving to Port Elizabeth, he was appointed as Dean of Education at the former UPE in 1999, where he remained until 2004 before being seconded to the National Ministry of Education to chair the Ministerial Committee on Teacher Education.

Prof Morrow was also a dedicated Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) councillor and a member of the Editorial Board of HSRC Press, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), the advisory committee for the Study of Education Project, the South African Institute for Distance Education, and the UMALUSI research committee.  He acted as a consultant to the Higher Education Qualifications Committee (HEQC), the national Department of Education, as well as the South African Council for Educators (SACE).

Until his illness, Prof Morrow was a member of the task team on the development of a Continuing Professional Teacher Development system. He was also a founder member of the Kenton conference and established the academic journal Perspectives in Education. Jointly, these two platforms created the intellectual space for critical discussion about education during dark times in South Africa. A previous collection of his essays, published in 1989 under the title Chains of Thought, addressed fundamental issues that were constantly disregarded in disputes about education during the decades of political struggle. Since the early 1990s he was prominently involved in the project of transforming South African education. More recently, two additional selections of essays were published.  Learning to teach in South Africa (2007) consists of a selection of essays that span the crucial years of democratic transition in South Africa. The Bounds of Democracy (2009), another selection of essays, spans the pivotal years in the historic democratisation of our country and provides a forceful reflection on South African Higher Education in transition.

Sadly, Prof Morrow was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour and passed away on 11 February 2009. He leaves us with a legacy of rich intellectual material for sustained scholarly engagements.

In recognition as South Africa’s foremost philosopher of education and respected as one of the most original and distinctive thinkers in South African education over the past three decades, it is an honour for NMMU to confer the degree of Doctor OF Education (honoris causa) posthumously on WALLY MORROW.