Alexander McLellan

26th October 2012 at 01:00
A nonagenarian with a noteworthy history as both an adjutant and a teacher

As a Scots educationalist Alex McLellan, who has died aged 91, enjoyed an enviable and truly international career of global renown.

The son of a ship's plater, he grew up in Greenock where he was dux of Belville Place Primary and attended Greenock High before studying English and history at the University of Glasgow. He graduated with an MA degree just three weeks before his 19th birthday and went straight into officer training.

Promoted through the ranks to captain and adjutant, in the 7th Rajput Regiment of Artillery in the Indian Army, he served during the Second World War in Bangladesh and Bombay, mainly with the Punjabi Musselman who made up half of his regiment.

After being demobbed he completed his honours degree in 1948. It was while doing his postgraduate teaching qualification at Jordanhill College of Education the following year that he visited the Indian subcontinent with the British University Debating Team and met Pandit Nehru, then embarking on the early years of his long tenure as first prime minister of an independent India.

Mr McLellan went on to teach English, history and geography in Renfrewshire primary and secondary schools.

In 1955 he married his wife Muriel and the following year returned to the University of Glasgow for a third time and graduated MEd.

The couple moved to Aberdeen in 1957 when he became assistant, and later deputy, director of education for the city. Seven years later his work took them to Forfar where he was deputy and then director of education for Angus County Council, where he oversaw a hugely successful decade for the region's schools.

During his time there he transformed education, taking the council's spending per head on the service from one of the lowest in Scotland to one of the highest of the rural councils.

In 1975 he became a lecturer in educational management at the Scottish Centre for Education Overseas, at Moray House College of Education in Edinburgh, and six years later became its director, responsible for more than 300 foreign students from 45 countries.

Again his travels took him to familiar territory in Bangladesh (where he and some colleagues insisted on going in 1982, ignoring a military coup), Pakistan, Malaysia and Tanzania and to Thailand, Cameroon and Sudan.

He retired from Moray House at 65 and immediately became a consultant in educational management at the Ministry of Education Staff College for Educational Administration in Maharagama in Sri Lanka. Four years later he was appointed as an adviser in education and management and a mission leader for a World Bank project to encourage the development of primary education in Pakistan.

He finally brought the curtain down on his international career in 1994.

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