Q. Critically examine the growth of western education in Bihar from 1857 to 1949.

Since ancient times, Bihar has been a hub for education. Bihar was home to world-class
universities like Nalanda, Vikramshila, and Odantapuri where people from all over the world
flocked to study. It created a large number of instructors and students who later altered the
dynamics of politics, religion, society, and space. The most significant ones included Chanakya,
Panini, Ashtavakra, Aryabhatta, and others.


● Bihar lost its advantage in education because universities were destroyed as a result of
foreign invasion during the medieval period.
● Also the initial education system in Bihar was based on Vedas, shastras, philosophy, and
lacked the scientific advances taking place in other parts of the world.
● The British also showed no interest in education initially.
● However, they later took the initiative to develop western education in India in order to
create a class of Indians who are Indian by blood and color but English in taste, opinions,
and intellectuals, as well as a workforce for their interests.
● The current growth of higher education in Bihar originated in the British educational


Charter Act of 1813: The process of development of education by the British started
with the Charter Act of 1813, which provided for an amount of rupees one lakh annually
for the purpose of promoting knowledge of science in the English medium.

Macaulay minute 1835: The year of 1835 has been important in the field of education
as it laid the foundation of English as a medium of teaching in India.
● In a Minute issued on February 22, 1835, Lord Macaulay denounced the
Oriental literature and education and advocated the introduction of western
system of education.

● This influenced the Government of Lord Bentinck and he passed the famous
Resolution of the 7th March, 1835, declaring that “the great object of the British
Government ought to be the promotion of European literature and science
amongst the natives of India.”
● It was decided that whatever funds were allocated for education, it should be
spent on only the English education system. It was done to create a system of
education that will educate only the upper class of society through the English
● The diffusion of English education started in 1835 in modern Bihar. As a result of
the ‘Macaulay Proposal’ , Zila schools at Deoghar, Biharsharif, Bhagalpur, Ararah,
and Chapra were established.

Wood’s Despatch of 1854: 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”
. Some of its provisions included:
● It provided for primary education in vernacular language and higher on ein
English medium. It also provided for the setting up of one school in every district
and one education department in every province.
Patna College, was established on 9th January, 1863 which was affiliated to
Calcutta university( first university of India). 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.
● The High school at Pakur in Santhal Pargana was opened in 1859.
● In 1863, the opening of Zila schools at Deoghar, Motihari, Chaibasa and
Hazaribagh was also approved.

Survey Training School: In 1886 survey training school was established which was
merged with Bihar industrial school and transformed to Bihar School Of Engineering in 1900.

It was further renamed as Bihar College of engineering in 1932, and in 2004 it
became, National Institute of Technology- Patna Government granted Institute of
National Importance status in 2007 in accordance with the National Institutes of
Technology Act, 2007.

Saddler Commission 1917: 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, the
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 higher 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.
The 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.
● In 1926 , the government school of Ayurveda was established in Patna. It was
granted the status of college in 1947.

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


The literacy rate in India at the time of independence was 16% which showed the dismal
attitude of the British towards education in India. It was for their own benefit of having English
educated government servants that the Britishers introduced western education in India.
However, it benefitted the Indians as it introduced the modern principles of democracy,
equality, rule of law etc which helped the Indians see the unjust and cruel nature of British
colonialism in a better way and thus began a fight for more rights which culminated into a large
scale freedom struggle for independence.

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