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An Early School

What were schools like a hundred and ten years ago when Gandhi was a child?

The Kattyawar High School, Rajkot where Gandhi studied for seven years, was the ninth English school started in Bombay Presidency (find out from your elders what this was) and the first in Kathiawar (now Saurashtra). It had a good building with classrooms that had benches to sit on and desks at which to write (unlike most other schools of the time). Inside the class-room, the teacher had his seat on a raised dais (or platform) facing the boys. Girls did not attend this School. (In fact, there weren't many schools where girls could study.)

At the age of 11 years, 2 months and 2 days, the young Mohandas was enrolled in standard l-B. The school's fee for standard I was 8 annas (50 paise) a month. On week days the school worked from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a recess of an hour at 2-3. On Saturdays it worked for half an hour less.

The subjects Gandhi had to study in standard I were arithmetic, Gujarati, history and geography. In geography, in fact, his marks in the first terminal examination of standard I were: zero. In English dictation that is, spelling too, he got no marks at all. In the same exam his rank was 32nd among the 34 students of his division. At the annual exam, though, he was able to secure the sixth rank among pupils in both divisions.

Adopted From Mahatma Gandhi as a Student edited and compiled by J.M. Upadhyaya