Roger Boshier

Roger Boshier

Hall of Fame Class of 2013

Roger Boshier has distinguished himself as a builder of partnerships across cultural, gender, and social frontiers. He is also a productive and competent researcher, teacher, and writer and author of the Education Participation Scale, completed by thousands of learners in every part of the world. He has published hundreds of book chapters and articles in journals and has been contributing to the Adult Education Conference for 40 years. He is also a frequent contributor to Canadian learned societies and the Comparative and International Education Society. 

From the early 1980s until the present, Boshier has had a major impact on China’s learning initiative. He takes on difficult projects and his greatest accomplishment was to help the Chinese Communist Party embrace a democratic ideology of learning. Boshier first went to China in 1984 and, since then, has written about adult education in the context of revolution and cadres who launched massive literacy programs and made adult education policy with Chairman Mao. He makes frequent trips to China as a guest of UNESCO, various municipal governments, and leading universities. 

His early interest in Asia stems from his New Zealand origins and leadership of the UBC Diploma in Adult Education in Hong Kong and Singapore. He has written numerous book chapters and articles about Chinese learning villages and activists and made independent forays into revolutionary sites in Yan’an, Jiangxi, and other places. He has a special interest in adult education and learning in Yangpu district and old Shanghai silk filatures. Boshier has close links to East China Normal University and supports and writes about Educating Girls in Rural China,  a Vancouver-based NGO helping impoverished Gansu girls go to school or university. He is in high demand at party, university, and municipal conferences in China. His book chapters and articles (in both English and Chinese), fondness for small villages, and friendships with colleagues first met in the 1980s have had a deep and lasting impact on Chinese educational policy and change.

Boshier is an active member of Amnesty International and, in 1996, ran for election to the British Columbia legislature. But his biggest accomplishment within Canada was to convince Coast Guard managers that marine safety was as much a matter of adult education as one of regulation. In western Canada, he is a sought-after authority on marine safety and, for many years, chaired a Coast Guard Advisory Council. Boshier has always regarded adult education as a hybrid discipline. For him, learning-from-experience is the way life should be lived.