Serampore college, W. Bengal first institution in Asia to offer degrees in divinity!!

1818 Serampore College, W. Bengal

Established in 1818 by the Danish missionaries was the Serampore College, the second oldest one  in the country after Presidency College Calcutta, and  amazingly, it is still functional. The college had two sections - one for the Christian studies with theological faculty and the other one was a regular one offering courses in  arts, science, commerce  with well trained faculties.  It was affiliated to the Senate of Serampore College (University); so was the Theology section. 

The college building is an impressive one and is being well maintained.  The architect of this building was Major Wickedie, a Dane and the design was  later approved by Lord Hastings The ruler of Denmark  quite pleased with the development of a Danish colony at Serampore gifted .the front iron gate and two beautiful staircases.  In 1822 the two-story structure built on the banks of the Hooghly river has  majestic Ionian pillars and impressive portico The high roofed building keeps the interiors cool in the hot summer. The 7 acre land covering the college campus was a gift from the Danish government. Once was construction was over, the classes were shifted to the college building and the mission library was housed on the vast ground floor

.Serampore college,

Serampore colle, W, Bengal.

Above image: Serampore College, West Bengal.. Governed by Bengal Act IV of 1918 and Incorporated by Danish Royal Charter 182.7 . The college also offers post-graduate  as well as doctorate degrees in theology jointly with Bishop College.......................

Founder of Serampore College,  Rev. William Carey (he worked as a professor of Bengali at Fort William College, WB till 1831),  ''a pioneering figure both in the spread of modern education and laying the foundation of modern institutions” , said VC of Jadavpur University, Suranjan Das. 

An interesting fact is many  theological colleges and seminaries  across  India including countries like Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are affiliated to the Senate of Serampore College (University). Holding the Danish Charter, the council of Serampore College  had the power to confer degrees in any subject.  Frederick VI, King of Denmark, granted a royal charter in 1827 that made the college a degree-granting institution, the first in Asia. But, now it is confined to conferring theological degrees as recommended by the senate. Whereas  the University of Calcutta confers the degree to the students of Serampore college in the areas of arts, commerce, etc. Both sections are\ dedicated to Carey in 1961, the year of revitalization of the college., because Carey was the one who put in lots of efforts to western education in this part without disturbing native character. He was the first one to open  the first theological university in Serampore offering divinity degrees. On the personal level he was interested in the welfare of the impoverished children and worked with other social reformists of Bengal in eradicating the practice of ''Sati''  (bride jumping into the funeral pyre of her hubbad)., a practice common  certain Hindu castes. He  also took interest in Hindu classical works and  translated the Hindu epic The Ramayana into English.  The Serampore Trio - William Ward, William Carey, & Joshua Marshman started the college with a humble beginning; there were only 37 students to begin with. There missionaries were later joined by  John Mack, a science scholar from Edinburgh. These people worked hard and improved the standard of education and the reputation of the college. Mack was ta maverick in tHe area of education and he emphasized the importance of teaching science with instruments.  he also welcomed the  use of  mother tongue in teaching science..

location. .Serampore town, west Bengal

After the death of Mack in 1857, the secular section of the college was closed and the Theology section continued. The theology section had a tough time, however with the arrival of . George Howell, the college showed sings of improvement from 1906 on. Howell  improved the contents of the courses and worked hard to improve the quality of education. He almost became the second founder of the college after the trio. Carey, ward and  Marshman.