Ph: 033-22410447,

Established: 1849

About Bethune Collegiate School

Bethune School and Its Founder

The School owes its origin to John Elliot Drinkwater Bethune (1801 - 1851) who was born in Ealing, son of Colonel John Drinkwater Bethune of Salford, who had earned fame as the author of History of the Siege of Gibraltar. J.E.D Bethune was educated at Westminster School, graduated from Trinity College, University of Cambridge, and later qualified for the Bar to secure an administrative position in Parliament. He was proficient in Greek, Latin, German, French and Italian and also earned fame as a poet. In 1848, he was sent to India as Law Member of the Governor General's Council. Besides his ordinary official duties he undertook the presidency of the Council of Education and took a keen interest in the education of women and the eradication of social evils.

He was deeply moved by the illiteracy and hence oppression of Indian women who urgently required education, awareness and the ability to voice their protest and solve their problems. He decided to devote himself to the cause of Indian women. With encouragement from and participation of like-minded social reformers like Ramgopal Ghosh, Raja Dakshinaranjan Mukherjee and Pandit Madan Mohan Tarkalankar, Bethune established Kolkata's first school for girls in 1849 called the Hindu Female School, which later came to be known as Bethune School. Bethune passed away in 1851.

Stone Laying Ceremony Of Bethune Collegiate School

Bethune set up his Hindu Female School, a secular native female school in 1849. He did it with the support of such people as Dakshina Ranjan Mukherjee , Ramgopal Ghosh, Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar, and Madan Mohan Tarkalankar. The school was built first on a piece of land donated by Dakshina Ranjan at Mirzapur in Calcutta. It was renamed as Bethune Collegiate School on 7th May 1849 which started functioning with twenty-one girls on its roll.

Establishment of Bethune School

Established in the year 1849 with the name of Hindu Female School and with just two students Bhubanmala and Kundamala, daughters of Madanmohan Tarkalankar, an eminent educationist, writer, administrator and one of the patrons of the school in its elementary stage. In 1856, the Government took charge of the school and later renamed it as Bethune School. Bethune School was at the time the centre of learning for the girls from 'progressive' families. Hindu reformers like Madanmohan Tarkalankar and Brahmo leaders like Rajnarayan Bose, Shivanath Shastri and Durgamohan Das sent their daughters to Bethune School.

The Managing Committee of the school was then formed and Pandit Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar, the celebrated social reformer and educationist, responsible for the prohibition of the custom of child-marriage, a relentless supporter of women's emancipation and widow remarriage, was made the Secretary. In August 1878, Bethune School was amalgamated with Banga Maha Vidyalaya which was founded by Miss Annette Akroyd with the help of Durgamohan Das, Dwarka Nath Ganguly and Anandamohan Basu.

It was in 1878 that Bethune School had the honour of sending up the first woman candidate for the Entrance Examination of the University of Calcutta. When Kadambini Ganguly (nee Basu) cleared the examination, college classes were arranged for her in Bethune school to enable her to pursue her studies for the F.A. examination.

Kadambini Ganguly was joined by Chandramukhi Basu in 1881. Both women graduated in 1883 becoming the first female graduates of Calcutta University. Kadambini Ganguly joined Calcutta Medical College as the first Indian lady student and later became the first practising lady doctor in India. Chandramukhi Basu joined Bethune College as Lecturer in English and later became the First Lady Principal of the Institution.

The erstwhile Bethune School can take pride of a history that has its association with the Tagore family with over three hundred years of history to its credit. This however traces back to Soudamini, the daughter of Devendranath Tagore and Sarada Devi, as one of the first two students of Bethune School. She became one of the earliest Bengali upper-class girls to go for formal education.

This association however gave birth to the famous Mayar Khela written by Rabindranath Tagore. It was the students of Bethune School who performed in this dance-drama which was staged for the first time within the erstwhile premises of Bethune School.

Development of Bethune School

The achievements of our students speak for themselves. Many of our students have topped All India Level examinations; some have been awarded medals and prizes in sports and other competitions. The students are also involved in various social activities befitting their social responsibilities.

The School has reached its high level of excellence due to the dedicated team work of the teaching, administrative and assisting staff members and also support and encouragement from the Governing Body and above all administrative and financial support from the School Education Department, Government of West Bengal, Sarva Siksha Mission and Rashtriya Madhyamik Siksha Abhiyan. Reaccredited as one of the best schools of Kolkata for imparting women's education, Bethune School has celebrated 167 long years of tireless striving for knowledge which enriches the mind and ennobles the soul.

Bethune Day

John Elliot Drinkwater Bethune is considered to be the blessed son of the Lord who has ensured a luminous destiny for the women of Bengal. As a result, the students duly celebrate the Bethune Day on 12th August every year to commemorate the death anniversary of the noble soul.

Location and Contact Details of the School
  • Address
  • 181, BIDHAN SARANI, KOLKATA- 700 006.
  • 033-22410447
  • Contact Person
  • Headmistress, Bethune Collegiate School.