Without a doubt, Illich is best known as the author of Deschooling Society, a book published in 1970 that spurred a great deal of discussion and activism. Deschooling did not, however, spring forth from Illich's mind overnight. That book was the result of much thinking and discussion that started during Illich's tenure in the late 1950s on a board overseeing the education system in Puerto Rico. What's more, Deschooling was not his last word on the subject of schooling, either. He was refining his thinking on the matter even as his soon-to-be-notorious book was still in press.
We mention this only to set the scene for a recent online discovery we've made, namely of some early papers by Illich on education. Unfortunately, we don't know where these papers were published, but they appear to have shown up as reprints in a magazine of some sort. We've found a scan of the relevant pages (PDF) at the website of Prof. Dr. Martina Kaller-Dietrich, a professor at the University of Vienna and author of a biography of Illich.
The papers are as follows:
• "The redistribution of educational tasks between schools and other organs of society," delivered at a conference held in 1967 in Puerto Rico.
• "Schooling: the Ritual of Progress," which is the third chapter of Deschooling. Previous to the book's publication, this paper had appeared in the New York Review of Books.
• "Ivan Illich in Australia, Questions and Answers," which is the transcript of Illich's interaction with an audience in Melbourne, at a conference held in 1972. This piece, new to us, provides a wonderful sampling of Illich's remarkable wit and intellect.
Finally, this PDF document includes a piece by another author, W. Senteza Kajubi, who asks, "Is the school an obsolete institution?" Mr. Kajubi is a Ugandan who presented this paper in 1970, at something called the World Conference on Education.