Old Schools of Bihar

The  vernacular instruction in old  Bihari villages, in beginning  of Nineteenth Century, was  in Persian, Sanskrit ,Hindi and Arabic languages.

Number and distribution of schools in then 
Tirhoot  in year 1830 was as follows -
Total Schools-374  ; Persian-234   Hindi-80 Sanskrit- 56  and    Arabic- 4 while in District of  then  South Bihar, it accounted as 
 Total Schools-605 ; Persian -279  Hindi- 286 Sanskrit  -27 Arabik -12  and English- 01.

In these schools , written works mainly in the vernacular language were taught in addition to commercial and agricultural accounts.

The school house was  sometimes built at the expense of the teacher ; sometimes at the expense of some comparatively wealthy person whose son attended the  school ; sometimes by general subscription, the teacher contributing a little, the parents a little, the scholars aiding by their labour, and some benevolent person granting a donation of land, of money or of materials.

In a majority of instances there was no school house, in which case the house of the teacher, a family or
village temple,an out-house of one of the parents, the hut assigned for the entertainment of travelers, the corner of a shop, the portico of a mosque,or the shade of a tree was employed for that purpose.

It had been mentioned in reports that there were four stages in a course of vernacular instruction ; whereas in the second and third stages of the former the
palm-leaf and plantain-leaf were generally used, in the same stages of the latter a wooden-board and brazen plate were employed as the materials on which lessons in writing and accounts were given. Two modes were adopted of writing on the brazen plate ; first, by dissolving chalk in water to a consistence that permitted the scholar to rub it on the plate where it dried and received the impression of a hard pin or reed-pen ; and second, by writing on the plate with chalk-ink. The former was the mode chiefly employed in writing on the board, and mud was sometimes substituted for moistened chalk.

The following statement exhibits the distribution of the total number of scholars into the four stages of instruction  in a report of 1834 AD for a particular district of Bihar-
  •    Scholars who write on the ground-71
  •     On the palm-leaf- 525
  •     On the wooden-board- 35
  •     On  the plantain-leaf-3
  •     On the brazen plate-95
  •     On paper- 437
In these schools , the Guru Bandana was found in use, a doggerel composition containing an expression of the respect and devotion due from the scholar to his teacher. The arithmetical rules of Subhankar were also employed.The Guru Dakshina, another doggerel composition which was sung by the elder boys of a school from house to house to elicit donations for their master, was taught in these schools. In addition to these vernacular works, a small portion of the Sanskrit vocabulary, the permutations of letters in combination, and examples of the declension of nouns  the Sanskrit verses of Chanakya, containing the praises of learning and precepts of morality,were read or committed to memory and ,a work called Sabda Subanta containing the rules of Sanskrit orthography was also in use . All the preceding works both vernacular and Sanskrit were taught either from manuscripts or memorized.

  • Third report on the state of education in Bengal;and  Behar,(1834)"Adam, William Publisher- G. H. HUTTMANN, BENGAL MILITARY ORPHAN PRESS.