Education in West Bengal

overview about the educational system of West Bengal

Education in West Bengal is provided by both the public sector as well as the private sector.


  • It is my firm belief that if our plans of education are followed up, there will not be a single idolator among the respectable classes of Bengal thirty years hence.
    • Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay, Letter written to his father in 1836. Quoted in Indian Church History Review, December 1973, p. 187. Quoted from Goel, S. R. (2016). History of Hindu-Christian encounters, AD 304 to 1996. Chapter 13. ISBN 9788185990354
  • We investigated the working of a number of elementary schools from three districts of West Bengal… The problem is, in some ways, compounded by the fact that school teachers are now comparatively well paid – no longer the recipients of miserably exploitative wages... The salary of teachers in regular schools has gone up dramatically over recent years. This is an obvious cause for celebration at one level (indeed, I remember being personally involved, as a student at Presidency College fifty years ago, in agitations to raise the desperately low prevailing salaries of school teachers). But the situation is now very different. The big salary increases in recent years have not only made school education vastly more expensive (making it much harder to offer regular school education to those who are still excluded from it), but have also tended to draw school teachers as a group further away from the families of children, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds. There is considerable evidence that the class barrier that deeply impairs the delivery of school education to the worst-off members of society is now further reinforced by the increase in economic and social distance between the teachers and the poorer (and less privileged) children
  • Muslim rule should never atttact any criticism. Destruction of temples by Muslim rulers and invaders should not be mentioned.
    • Circular, West Bengal Board of Secondary Education, 1989. Quoted in Arun Shourie - Eminent Historians: Their Technology, Their Line, Their Fraud, HarperCollins, 1998. Quoted in Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 8. Quoted in Rosser, Yvette In Saha, S. C. (2004). Religious fundamentalism in the contemporary world: Critical social and political issues. Quoted in Rao, R. N. (2001). Coalition conundrum: The BJP's trials, tribulations, and triumphs.
  • In every Hindu village which has retained anything of its form ... the rudiments of knowledge are sought to be imparted; there is not a child... who is not able to read, to write, to cipher; in the last branch of learning they are confessedly most proficient. ... where the village system has been swept away by us, as in Bengal, there the school system has equally disappeared.
    • Ludlow's British India, as quoted in Ram Swarup (2000). On Hinduism: Reviews and reflections. Chapter 7
  • The West Bengal Board of Secondary Education had issued instructions in 1989 that ‘Muslim rule should never attract any criticism. Destruction of temples by Muslim rulers and invaders should not be mentioned. (...) With the sway which Marxists have ensured over the education department, each facet at every level will be subjected to the same sort of alterations and substitutions that we have encountered in Bengal – all that is necessary is that the progressives’ government remains in power, and that the rest keep looking the other way. ... As we have seen, the explicit part of the circular issued by the West Bengal government in 1989 in effect was that there must be no negative reference to Islamic rule in India. Although these were the very things which contemporary Islamic writers had celebrated, there must be no reference to the destruction of the temples by Muslim rulers, to the forcible conversion of Hindus, to the numerous other disabilities which were placed on the Hindu population. Along with the circular, the passages which had to be removed were listed and substitute passages were specified. The passages which were ordered to be deleted contained, if anything, a gross understatement of the facts. On the other hand, passages which were sought to be inserted contained total falsehoods: that by paying jizyah Hindus could lead ‘normal lives’ under an Islamic ruler like Alauddin Khalji! A closer study of the textbooks which are today being used under the authority of the West Bengal government shows a much more comprehensive, a much deeper design than that of merely erasing the cruelties of Islamic rule. ... *The position of these ‘academics’ in Bengal has, of course, been helped by the fact that the CPI(M) has been in power there for so long. But their sway has not been confined to the teaching and ‘research’ institutions of that state. It is no surprise, therefore, to see the same ‘line’ being poured down the throats of students at the national level. And so strong is the tug of intellectual fashion, so lethal can the controlling mafia be to the career of an academic that often, even though the academic may not quite subscribe to their propositions and ‘theses’, he will end up reciting those propositions. Else his manuscript will not be accepted as a textbook by the NCERT, for instance, it will not be reviewed….
    • Arun Shourie  : Eminent Historians: Their Technology, Their Line, Their Fraud, 1998 (2014), HarperCollins

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