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University of Saskatchewan Photograph Collection France
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University of Vimy Ridge Sign

University of Vimy Ridge signage.

Bio/Historical Note: Khaki University (initially Khaki College or University of Vimy Ridge) was a Canadian overseas educational institution set up and managed by the general staff of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) in Britain from 1917-1919 during the First World War. The system, named for the khaki-coloured uniforms of the CEF, was set up by the efforts of Dr. Edmund Henry Oliver, Professor of History and Economics, University of Saskatchewan, and others and was supported by the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA). The University, with makeshift colleges mainly in central England, was intended to be “a school of efficiency and citizenship, a sort of combination of an Agricultural High School and a Technical School.” Courses were offered in Agriculture, Business Efficiency, Elementary Practical Science, and Citizenship. Classes were scheduled so that battalions could attend during their rest periods. Certificates given were accepted by Canadian universities. An important part of the University’s services was a network of thirty libraries that served more than 50,000 soldiers. Operations were suspended in April 1918 because of the massive German offensive. The war was over by November and Oliver returned to Canada. The term was used again for Canadian educational programs for veterans from 1945-1946 after the Second World War.