Development of Western Education in Bihar

By Abhishek Jain |Updated : June 13th, 2022

In this article, we will cover the Development of Western Education in Bihar in the Pre-Independence era. This topic is extremely important for the BPSC prelims and mains examination. Don't miss it.     


Bihar has been an important place for education since the ancient time. Nalanda University and Vikramshila University etc, have been a famous place for education. Intially education system in Bihar was based on Vedas, shastras, philosophy, but lacked the scientific advances taking place in other parts of the world. In medieval times, Patna, Bhagalpur, Biharsharif have been important center of education. Bihar has been famous for advance study of Persian & Sanskrit, Institution for Dialect languages have been established in various cities. These institution were earlier setup & run on the donations by the local zamindars, rajas & rich classes. But after the land consolidation the income of Rajas and Zamindars were badly affected as a result its impact also influenced the standard of education in Bihar.

In Modern India, the East India Company, took no interest in the promotion of education. But a humble beginning was made through the charter Act of 1813. The Act one lakh rupees annually for the purpose of promoting knowledge of science and the medium of teaching will be English

The year of 1835 has been an important in the field of education. The year Lord Williiam Bentick announced that whatever funds were allocated for education, it should be spent on only English education system and that it was the best option to do. The diffuse of English education started in 1835 in modern Bihar. As a result ‘Macaulay Proposal’ , Zila schools at Deoghar, Biharsharif, Bhagalpur, Ararah, and Chapra. In 1863, opening of Zila schools at Deoghar, Motihari, Chaibasa and Hazaribagh also approved. The High schools at Pakur in Santhal Pargana was opened in 1859.

In 1854, Charles Wood the then Chairman of Board of Control, issued education related instructions (dispatch) which was considered the “ Magna Carta of English education in India” and accordingly the Patna College was founded in 1863. It has been accorded a prominent place in the channels of education on account of its being the oldest college of Bihar as well as being the best college.

In 1917, the British government constituted the Saddler Commission to give suggestions to improve the education system. The commission talked about provisions of practical sciences, Technological Diploma and Degrees. Before this, in 1902 itself, for agriculture related research and experiments, Agricultural Research Center was established at Pusa. With the establishment of Patna University in 1917, a new chapter was unleashed in so far as imparting high education in Bihar. The post Graduate department in the Arts Faculty was opened in 1917 and the Physics and Chemistry departments were opened in 1919. For appropriate exploitation of mineral resources, Indian School of Mines was established at Dhanbad in 1926. Patna engineering  college was established to impart education in engineering. Patna Medical College was established in 1925. With a purpose to impart higher education in science, Patna science college was established in 1928  as an independent college.

Various voluntary organization and social activists helped to spread education in Bihar like Arya Samaj, Brahma Samaj & Christian Missionaries also. For the upliftment of Vedic education, Arya Samaj started the chains of DAV Schools. Various organizations formed to spread the education among Muslims. The Aligarh Movement under Sir Syed Ahmad khan was the main source of inspiration who motivated Muslims for education. Mohammedan Education Society was constituted in Patna which started Mohammedan Anglo Arabic School in Patna city in 1866.

The most important event in the history of modern Bihar was to ensure the education for female. St. Joseph’s School was opened in this regard at Patna in 1847 and two other Girls was setup in 1867 at Patna. In 1940, the first college exclusively for women in Patna Women’s College was established.

The education of masses was neglected by the British, which is evidebt from the fact that the literacy rate in India was 16% at the time of independence. The only good it did to India was, it introduced the modern principles of democracy, equality, rule of law and soon the educated Indians came to know the hypocrisy of British and began a fight for more rights which culminated into a large scale freedom struggle for independence.

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