He donated a major part of his earnings to this institution and thus encouraged others to contribute towards this noble cause. Gradually, different missionaries opened institutions for women’s education.
By 1851 nearly 371 educational institutions had been opened in India of which 86 were residential institutions. In this way, during the first half of the 19th century, that is, prior to the revolution of 1857, facilities for the education of as many as 11,193 girls existed in the country.
After the revolution in 1857 the pace of women’s education expansion slowed down and no remarkable progress was made. In the year 1882, having realised the need of women’s education, the Government of India started giving grants to women’s educational institutions on the basis of the recommendations of Education Commission.
This step strengthened women’s educational institutions and more new schools came into existence. The number of women’s institutions and girl students rose to 6,107 and 4, 47,470 respectively, by the beginning of the 20th century.
These institutions, besides primary schools, included 467 secondary schools and 12 colleges. The first 15 or 16 years of the 20th century are particularly important from the point of view of women’s education.
In 1904 Mrs. Annie Besant established the great institution named Central Hindu Girls School at Varanasi and in 1916 the first women’s college, namely the Lady Harding Medical College, was opened at Delhi.
Both the Government and the public showed keen interest in women’s education. The public started sending girls to schools and the Government extended financial help to girls’ schools, scholarships and facilities for transport.
With the opening of government girls’ schools, inspectresses for them were also appointed. In this way, till the First World War (approximately till 1917) there were 18,827 girls’ institutions with 12, 30,419 girls on their rolls. Of these, besides primary schools, there” were 689 secondary schools, 12 colleges and four commercial schools.
After the First World War and till India’s independence there has been a revolution in the sphere of women education. Mahatma Gandhi and other leaders and some prominent women organisations continued to agitate for more education and freedom to women.
Their efforts produced good results and at the time of independence as many as 32, 14,860 girls were receiving education in the undivided India. Of these, 16,284 were studying in the ordinary colleges while 40,843 were studying in industrial and medical colleges.
Thus the pace of progress of women education remained satisfactory and the number of school-going girls increased three-fold during thirty years.
After the attainment of freedom the expansion of women’s education became an important national responsibility. The government made consistent efforts to discharge its duty and the public, too, showed keen interest in giving education to girls.
This created a favourable atmosphere for the expansion of women’s education. At the beginning of the First Five Year Plan 16,951 educational institutions were imparting education to 35,50,503 girls.
During the Five Year Plan the increase in the girl students in higher classes was comparatively more than those in the primary or secondary schools. Vocational and other specialised institutions also made some progress.
Comparatively more girls opted for these subjects. The statistics reveal that by the end of the First Five Year Plan 26,425 institutions were imparting education to nearly ten million girls.
By the end of the 7th Five Year Plan, i.e., by 1992, about 2 crores were receiving education in nearly 43,735 institutions. In view of the progress made during the First Plan further good results were expected in all the successive Plans.