Adam’s Report On Education

Adam's Report On Education
Adam’s Report

Adam’s Report: In this article, we will discuss Adam’s Report from the subject Contemporary India And Education.


Adam’s full name was William Adam. He presented three reports between 1835 and 1838, and we know them as Adam’s Reports. William Bentick, the governor general of India, appointed Adam to survey the educational conditions of Bengal in India during the colonial rule.

On the basis of his survey, he submitted three reports. He submitted his first report in 1835 and submitted the second and third reports in 1838.

We have discussed all these three reports below:


Adam’s first report contains educational data. Some scholars like Sir Philip termed the report as a ‘myth’, and other scholars like R.V. Parulekar considered this report as a ‘reality.

Adam had described indigenous elementary schools in this report as “By this description are meant those schools in which instruction in the elements of knowledge is communicated, and which have been originated and are supported by the natives themselves, in contradiction from those that are supported by religious or philanthropic societies.”

According to the other’s point of view, a school was a place where instructions were given to one student or more students either by the teacher or even by the father himself or any other member of the family.

In this report, Adam says that there were at least one lakh schools in operation in Bengal itself, which means that there was a school for every 400 students.

Some education experts have described this report as a myth and false while some others believe that it is substantially correct. The two sides differ chiefly in relation to their interpretation of the world ’school’. 

One group defines school in its modern sense, viz. an institution of permanent nature conducted by a person or persons who teach a certain number of children of the locality in return for fees. If we define schools like this at that time, definitely, there were not one lakh schools functioning then.

But, according to other definitions, a family where a teacher was employed to give education to its children or where the father taught his own children with or without children of the locality, was also considered a school.

If this definition of the school had been accepted, then there would have been certainly one lakh schools functioning in Bengal.


Adam’s second report is about the findings of the study conducted from the data collected from Rajshahi district Nattore Thana.  According to this report, the total population of Naltore Thana was 1,95,296 out of which 1,29,640 were Muslims and 65,656 were Hindus.

There were 485 villages in Naltore Thana. There were 27 elementary schools where only 262 students studied. Out of these schools, 10 were Bengali schools where 167 students were studying, 4 were Persian schools with 23 students, 11 were Arabic schools with 42 students.

Also, there were 1588 families which provided education to 2342 students in 238 villages.  The average age of admission to these schools was 8 years while that of leaving the school was 14 years.  The average pay of the teacher was Rs. 5-8 per month.

According to Adam’s report, there were no indigenous colleges among Muslims, but there were 38 Sanskrit colleges with 397 students.  The average age of admission to such colleges was 11 years and the average age of completing the course was 27 years.

Although it was thought that female education was non-existent, according to Adam’s Report total number of education adults in Naltore was 6121. And as per the report, the male literacy rate was 6.1 percent while the overall literacy rate was 3.1 percent.


Adam’s divided his third report into two parts. The first part covers educational data collected by him for 5 districts, i.e., Murshidabad, Birbhum, Burdwan, south Bihar, and Tirhut. The second part provides proposals put forward by Adam for the reform of education.

In this report, Adam admits that his data was underestimated.  He wrote, “Although I believe that the returns I receive are in general worthy of confidence so far as they go, yet I have no security that they are not defective.

In traversing a district, many agents could not visit all the villages it contained, amounting to several thousand. This was physically impossible without protracting the inquiry beyond all reasonable limits.

They were, therefore, compelled to depend wither upon their personal knowledge, or upon the information that could be gathered from others as to the places possessing schools, every one of which was invariably visited and examined; but that in no instance a village-institution has been overlooked is more than I dare affirm, and in point of fact I have some time discovered instances in which such institution had at first escaped attention.”

In his third report, Adam summarized all his statistics. This report contains two parts. The first part of the report deals with the statistics of Murshidabad. Birbhum, Burdwan, South Bihar, and Tirhut. In the second part, Adam has proposed to reform indigenous schools.


We can say that Adam’s reports presented a clear view of the educational condition of Bengal. These reports throw light on the different types of indigenous institutions in the educational field in India. The main features of Adam’s Reports are as follow:-

Adam had identified the following types of indigenous educational institutions:-

  • Pathshalas
  • Madrassas
  • Arabic Schools
  • Vernacular Schools
  • Persian Schools
  • The schools didn’t have any buildings. The classes were held often in the local temples, mosques, or under a tree.
  • There was a lack of printed books and other stationery.  Pencils and slates etc were used as instructional material which was easily available in the locality.
  • The curriculum was also not well-defined. It generally consisted of reading, writing, arithmetic, and accounts.
  • There was no prescribed fee.  The parents of the students paid the teachers either in cash or in kind.  The mode the time, and the amount of the payment were left to the convenience of the parents of the students.
  • There was no pre-determined admission period, the students could join the school at any time and could study according to their own pace. The student could leave the school at his or her convenience.
  • The hours of instruction and days of work were adjusted according to local requirements.
  • In bigger schools, the senior students were appointed to teach junior students.
  • The size of the school was generally small.
  • The number of students in the school varied from one student to fifteen students.
  • The main advantages of indigenous elementary schools were adaptability to the local environment, their vitality, and popularity among local people.
  • The exclusion of girls and Harijans was the main defect of those schools.
  • The lack of training of the teachers, narrow and limited curriculum, and severe form of punishment were other important demerits of this system.


On studying Adam’s Report or Reports, we see that Adam’s Report throws light on the popular indigenous education system in India during the colonial period. Through this report, the British became familiar with the Indian educational scenario and took appropriate steps for its development and improvement.

This article has been contributed by Shivani Sharma, Haryana. She has been our contributor for the month. You can also send us your notes, lesson plans, other material and help others. We will give you credits for your work and will also put your photo with your contribution.

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