As director of education in the 1940s and 1950s, Clarence Beeby was father of the modern education system.

It was he who wrote the egalitarian creed espoused by Prime Minister Peter Fraser and he dedicated his life to fulfilling it.

"Every person, whatever the level of his academic ability, whether he be rich or poor, whether he live in town or country, has the right, as a citizen, to a free education of a kind for which he is best suited and to the fullest extent of his powers."

But, like Fraser, Beeby's influence was not confined to this country and he played a large role in shaping the work and purpose of Unesco (the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation).

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In 1948 and 1949 he was the assistant director general of that organisation, charged with framing its educational policies and methods.

Clarence Beeby is our New Zealander of the Year for his contribution to educating the young people of his homeland and the world.

Further reading:
Biography of Clarence Beeby, Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand