Foundations of Education in Bihar

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In Bihar, proposals to encourage Sanskrit and Arabi-Pharsi (Persian) learning, were made quite early.In Sanskrit Schools of early nineteenth century literature, law, philosophy and religion of the Hindus were taught through the medium of the Sanskrit language

Early Modern Education in Bihar

English was first introduced by private enterprise to meet the local demands of individuals or small communities.The Government moved in this direction by devising a scheme in 1835. One school for English educations was started at Purnea in 1835.The Patna High School established in the same year was usually regarded as the parent institution of the Patna College.Two educational circles were established-one at Bhagalpur and the other in Bihar.
It was proposed to have a central college with as many zila schools as there were districts in the circle.In 1863, zila Schools at Bhagalpur was established and the districts of Deoghar, Motihari, Hazaribagh and Chaibasa got one school each. The first attempt to impart higher education in Bihar was made here by the middle of the nineteenth century.. 

Donations were arranged for establishment of modern colleges in Patna and elsewhere. Sayeed Wallayat Ally Khan donated Rs.5000 to the Patna College. At last the Patna College was opened with five students only in 1863. In Nineteenth century,Bihar had only six Arts colleges. At Patna, the Patna college was a Government college while the Bihar National College was a private college. The Tej Narayan Jubliee College at Bhagalpur was also a private college. The Dublin University College at Hazaribagh was a missionary institution aided by the Government. And the remaining two private colleges, the Bhumihar College at Muzaffarpur and the Diamond Jubilee College at Munger were unaided.
Photograph of the School at Jamalpur taken by an unknown photographer, on 1897AD, from the Elgin Collection: 'Presented to His Excellency the Earl of Elgin
In North Bihar,  there were 56 Sanskrit schools
 having 214 students , 147 of them being natives of the village i
n which the schools were situated, and 67 natives of other villages.
The number of students engaged in each were-
Grammar-127
, Lexicology- 3,Literature-4, Law-8 ,Logic-16,Vedanta- 2,Astrology-53 and Mythology-1.

Only two were having separate school-houses for the accommodation of their students, and those built at their own cost. the rest used to assemble their pupils in the verandas of their own dwelling houses.



Regarding award of Sanskrit Titles in Bihar, the highest 
award was a Dhoti which was coveted by the most distinguished Sanskrit students.              

The class of institutions next in importance to Vernacular and Sanskrit schools consisted of those in which the Persian and Arabic languages and the learning they contain were taught. Persian and Arabic schools were so intimately connected that they wre regarded  as one class.In South Bihar,there were 291 schools of which 279 were Persian and 12 Arabic.

In 1830 Ad ,t
wo maulavis were highly distinguished for learning and they were both authorsMaulavi Gholam Hossein  of Sahebgunj  had written in Persian a compilation called Jam-iBahadur Khani, from various Arabic works on arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and the natural sciences with additions of his own. This work had been printed and contained 720 pages. He also  prepared astronomical tables entitled as   Zij Bahadur Khani. The names of both works were intended as a compliment to his patron Bahadur Khan, one of the sons of Mitrajit Singh, the Raja of Tikari.
Maulavi Mohiyuddin, of village Erki  of Jehanabad, had composed in Persian Sharh-i-Abdul Rasul, a commentary on the work of Abdul Rasul on Arabic syntax, consisting of 288 pages in manuscript and Jawab Chabbis Musciir, a treatise on Mohammadan observances containing 12 pages, also in manuscript. In Arabic he had written Majmua Taqrir Mantiq Amani, explanatory of Majmua, a work on logic, and consisting of 32 pages in manuscript.
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 In his Minute of 6 March,1811, Lord Minto recommended that for the advancement of Hindu learning and literature, a college should be established at Bhour near Bhowara in Tirhut and a Mohammedan college might be established at Bhagalpur. But nothing came out of this recommendation a before 1873 when the Dharma Samaj Sanskrit Vidyalaya was established at Muzaffarpur.

English was first introduced by private enterprise to meet the local demands of individuals or small communities. In 1819 the Calcutta Book Society set on foot the project of establishing school, both English and Vernacular all over the country. At Ranchi there was a private Missionary school since 1870. It was recognized in 1890-91 and taken over by Government in 1894. The manufactures of the people were carried on by manual labour.

The Government moved in this direction by devising a scheme in 1835. Two educational circles were established-one at Bhagalpur and the other in Bihar. 
It was proposed to have a central college with as many zila schools as there were districts in the circle. Institutions to impart English education began to spring up at different places. One school for English educations was started at Purnea in 1835. The Patna High School established in the same year was usually regarded as the parent institution of the Patna College. R.B. Champman, Inspector of schools, in Bihar wrote of it in 1855 as being the first English School in Bihar established under government auspices at Patna and standing alone for ten years.

 In 1863, zila Schools at Bhagalpur was established and   the districts of Deoghar, Motihari, Hazaribagh and Chaibasa got one school each. In the 
beginning the zila schools opened by the Government were not popular. People were not inclined to send their children to these schools. Even so, social prejudices stood against the progress of modern education in Bihar. The officiating Collector of Gaya 
saw that the Government schools of the district were not functioning well owing to the backwardness of the parents who did not allow their children to attend the classes. The guardians used to withdraw their wards 
frequently, thus interrupting their studies. There was intense activity on the educational front with the coming of W.Taylor, an enthusiastic Commissioner of Patna. The first attempt to impart higher education in Bihar was made here by the middle of the nineteenth century. 

Donations were  arranged for establishment of modern colleges in Patna and elsewhere.  Sayeed Wallayat Ally Khan donated Rs.5000 to the  Patna College. At last the Patna College was opened with five students only in 1863. Unfortunately, the college did not attract much attention in the early days of its existence. But things changed with the appointment of J.W. Mccrinolle, a famous indologist on 14 February 1857 as the Principal of the college. Its activity further increased with the addition of the department of law in May1854 with one lecturer viz, Nobin Chandra DeOnce the college was on a secure financial footing C.F. Cockburn, Commissioner of Patna, wrote to the government that this college should be separated from the school and located near the opium godowns. 

In Nineteenth century,Bihar had only six Arts colleges. At Patna, the Patna college was a Government college while the Bihar National College was a private college. The Tej Narayan Jubliee College at Bhagalpur was also a private college. The Dublin University College at Hazaribagh was a missionary institution aided by the Government. And the remaining two private colleges, the Bhumihar College at Muzaffarpur and the Diamond Jubilee College at Munger were unaided.

By the end of the nineteenth century the Patna college became one of the premier colleges of Bengal Presidency, the number of its pupils increased and the results were also satisfactory.

TECHNICAL EDUCATION-There were no factories. In the beginning social organization in Bihar was against factories.The Dehri workshop was established in 1873. It employed hundreds of carpenters and blacksmiths of Shahabad who learnt the technique of constructing canals while labours learnt canal making. The Tribeni canal likewise afforded instruction to be labourers of Saran and Champaran. The students of Bihar first received technical instruction in the Engineering College at Kolkata and the Roorki College.

Then a survey school was attached to the Patna College in 1864, which was affiliated in 1876 to the Sibpur Engineering College.  In 1896 the Survey School was amalgamated with the Bihar Industrial School and the new institution at Bankipur was entitled the “Bihar School of Engineer” It owed its origin to a fund raised by the residents of Bihar to commemorate the visit of King Emperor to Patna in 1876. 
The first medical institution set up by Government was the Medical School at Patna on June 1874 under the supervision of Richard Temple. In 1892 this school was thrown open to female students admitted free of charge and granted Rs.10/- from Provincial Revenues.
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Education in Bihar-100 years ago

In 1906, there were 5 Middle English Schools with 210 pupils and 6 middle vernacular schools with 318 pupils in the Patna district. Of the 5 Middle English Schools, one was maintained by the district board, 2 were aided by the same body, one was aided by Government and the other was an unaided school, of the 6 middle vernacular schools one was under the direct control of the Education Department, while the rest were district board schools. There was also a Middle English School for girls.
Education was in a backward state in the majority of the districts of Bihar
. In Saran and Darbhanga literacy was only 3.5 percent, in Champaran 2.3 percent and the great majority of the population in Monghyr district 
were illiterate as only 2.9 percent were able to read and write.

Education was exceptionally backward in the Purnea district as only 3 percent were literate at the close of the nineteenth century. One of the districts which was making progress and trying to overcome backwardness was Bhagalpur. Here 66 male per thousand and 1 female per thousand were literate at the time of the cencus in 1901. But in 1891, 61 males and 1 females per thousand were returned as literate. In fact, there has been a steady progress in the direction of literacy during the last twenty years of the nineteenth century. There was one Arts College, 19 secondary, 962 primary and 337 special schools. A Santhal boys school and a Santhal girls’ school near the estern border had a large attendance, while all the primary schools in the south of the district were attended by boys of aboriginal races.

The sc
hools maintained by the Government were the Patna Collegiate school and the Patna City school and those aided by it were the High School at Bihar, Danapur and Khagaul and Ram Mohan Roy Seminary at Patna. Of the unaided High Schools, one the Bayley High School, was at Barh, other, the Aryan High school at Danapur, and five were within Municipal limits of Patna, viz, the Bihar National Collegiate school, T.K. Ghosh’s Academy, and the Anglo-Arabic, Anglo Sanskrit and Diamond Jubilee school. Besides these, there was a High school for girls. 
Government School of Muzaffarpur, A photograph of 1905 
In Patna there was a High School for girls at Bankipur, which was the only secondary school for girls in Bihar. 

Bibliography
  • Education and social changes in Bihar, 1900-1921: a survey of social history of Bihar from Lord Curzon to noncooperation movement (1975) Author-Shreedhar Narayan Pandey, Publisher-Motilal Banarsidass,Varanasi 
  • History of Education in Bihar under the British Rule by  BSahay
  • Third report on the state of education in Bengal;and  Behar,(1834)"Adam, William Publisher- G. H. HUTTMANN, BENGAL MILITARY ORPHAN PRESS.
     
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