Bethune College

Bethune College

181, Bidhan Sarani Kolkata 700 006 West Bengal, India

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Bethune College

Contact Person Principal

Phone Number +91 33 2257-1712



In 1856, the Government took charge of the Hindu Female School, later renamed as Bethune School. The Managing Committee of the school was then formed and Pandit Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar, the celebrated social reformer responsible for the eradication of the custom of Sati and a relentless supporter of women's emancipation 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. This is how the College started. And for many years to follow, this College remained the only institution offering the scope of higher education for girls in India.

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 practicing lady doctor in India. Chandramukhi Basu joined Bethune College as Lecturer in English and later became the First Lady Principal of the Institution.

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The decades of 1980s and 1990s saw a rising awareness about the vital role that women's empowerment plays in the holistic development of a country. Incentivising women's higher education became a policy agenda for many developing nations. India also has taken various formal steps to enhance women's visibility in different walks of life with much success in the arena of education. With a deep sense of pride we look back to the glorious history of Bethune College as it is in the premises of this College that women's march forward to true empowerment started in 1879 when the College was set up as the first women's college of entire Asia. The college produced one of the first two lady graduates of British Empire, the illustrious Dr. Kadambini Basu and it obtained the other first lady graduate Prof. Channdramukhi Basu as its first Principal. That historically the college has been producing icons of women's empowerment can be seen from the long list of its successful ex-students. We can mention only a few- Pritilata Wadder, the first female martyr of India's freedom struggle, Jyotirmoyee Ganguli, the first woman councillor of the Calcutta Corporation, Ila Sen, the first Bengali woman to be selected for participation in Olympic Games and the first woman D.Litt of Calcutta University, Dr. Sabita Mishra. The institution has produced scientists, litterateurs, public servants, performing artists who are educated and enlightened individuals from all walks of human life.

During its long journey of 137 years, Bethune College has nurtured the vision of excellence through continuous modernisation of the teaching learning process aided by research and all other academic pursuits. Awarded the Grade 'A' twice, in 2006 & 2015, by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), the College was granted the status of College with Potential for Excellence by the UGC. Satisfied with the performance of the science departments of our college, the Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India has provided handsome fund under the DST-FIST programme. It was also sanctioned a considerable amount under the Rashtriya Ucchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) for infrastructural and IT development.

The college is proud of its students who emerge as achievers in diverse spheres. The synergy between teachers and students is one of our greatest strengths. The teachers are totally committed to the cause of students motivating them to do their best in their chosen fields.

The Alumni Association of the institution which is 95 years old works in a symbiotic manner with the college for the enrichment and progression of the students. With generous help and encouragement of the Governing Body, administrative and financial assistance from the Department of Higher Education, Government of West Bengal and constant cooperation from all the stakeholders, Bethune College has played a major role in contributing to the cause of women in the country, producing empowered and enlightened individuals.


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