INFORMATION ABOUT EDUCATIONAL CENTRES IN THE DISTRICT in ancient times is not available in the absence of relevant records. Temples in ancient times and with the advent of Muslims, masjids and mosques provided the seats of education where the pupils were taught in the necessary branches of knowledge including religious scriptures. The District Gazetteer of Ahmadnagar however contains an account relating to the education prevailing in the district prior to 1884, which is reproduced below:—

"Progress: Before the Board of Education commenced operations in 1840, there were a few indigenous elementary schools scattered over the district, which were mostly conducted by Brahmans. But more than ninety per cent of the villages were without schools. The Board of Education opened elementary schools in most of the large villages and in 1850 there were thirty of these institutions attended by 1,727 pupils. In 1855. when the Department of Public Instruction was constituted, the organization of these schools was greatly improved. From 1863, when the voluntary education cess was first levied, the extension of primary education was vigorously taken in hand; and in 1872-73 the department was maintaining 196 schools of this class attended by 8,682 students. In 1882-83 there were 249 local-cess schools under the supervision of the Local Fund Committees and of the Educational Department which were attended by 13,402 pupils. Of these, 234 were day-schools, five night-schools, three Hindustani schools, and seven free schools. All these schools are well organized, and are highly valued both by the town and village people. Sixty-four of the teachers have gone through a special course of instruction at the Poona Training College and almost all the masters of the village schools have qualified at some public examination. Definite standards of instruction and examination have been in force since 1866, and the highest vernacular standard qualifies for admission to the lower grades of the public service. Classes for instruction in drawing and practical agriculture have been recently established at Ahmadnagar in connection with the primary schools in that city. All the larger schools in the district are well housed and they are also fully equipped with the requisite apparatus of instruction, such as form and colour boxes, terrestrial globes, wall-maps, and pictures. The schools are also provided with small libraries which are from time to time supplied with new books presented to them by the Director of Public Instruction or by the District Committees.

Aided schools: There were also at the end of 1882-83 fifty-eight schools aided by the Department of Public Instruction or by the Local Fund Committee, fifty-four being for boys and four for girls They were attended by 1,257 pupils. Of these fifty-eight schools, fifty-four were maintained by Christian missionary societies and four by indigenous school-masters. The majority of these schools were located in the Ahmadnagar, Nevasa, Rahuri, Parner, and Sangamner sub-divisions. The aggregate number of pupils on the rolls at the end of 1882-83 was 1,257 with an average attendance of 1,016 pupils. One of these fifty-eight schools was a high school maintained by the American Mission and attended by fifty-six pupils of whom or an average thirty-two attended regularly. Another was an Anglo-vernacular school maintained by the Society for the propagation of. the Gospel with fifty-nine pupils on the rolls and an average attendance of fifty-one The mission schools are chiefly maintained for Hindus of the lowest castes and the children of native converts. The mission high school at Ahmadnagar teaches up to the matriculation standard, and the Anglo-vernacular school up to the third Anglo-vernacular standard. The teaching in the vernacular schools aims at nothing beyond the rudiments of reading, writing and ciphering. Most of the mission schools have been but recently established, but the boarding school for native girls maintained at Ahmadnagar by the American Mission was founded as far back as 1840.

Inspected schools: Besides the Government and aided schools there were ninety-six private elementary schools which received no aid from public funds, but were under the inspection of the department or of the District Committee. They were attended by 2,012 pupils Few, if any of them, can trace back their existence beyond the third generation, while many are known to have been very recently opened They are open to all except the lowest classes, and are chiefly attended by the sons of tradesmen and artisans. Brahmans mostly prefer the cess schools managed by the Educational Department. There are no such schools for girls, and Hindu parents very rarely send their daughters to the boys' schools. The Muhammadan primary schools, on the other hand, are freely attended by children of both sexes, though the boys are the more numerous. The medium of instruction is Marathi in the Hindu schools. Many schools teach only writing, others writing and multiplication tables; but many town-schools conform to the departmental standards of instruction. The indigenous primary schools have slowly but steadily increased in numbers. There is also a general improvement observable in their management and method of teaching, which is both directly and indirectly due to the operations of the Educational Department...".

Girls schools: " The first girls school was opened at Ahmadnagar in 1840. In 1868 there were fifty-nine names on the tolls with an average attendance of 25.2. In 1872-73, an additional school was opened in the same place and the number of pupils in both the schools amounted to 148, of whom seven were Parsis and the rest Hindus. In 1882-83 there were nineteen schools with 1,123 names and an average attendance of 598.5 ".

Town schools: There were twelve Government schools in Ahmadnagar city which had 1,735 names on the rolls in the year 1882-83. Of these, eight were Marathi schools. In addition to this there were also eight private schools with a total attendance of 395. Sangamner had three schools with 433 students, Pathardi two schools with 247 students, Kharda three schools and 267 students, Shrigonda three schools and 329 pupils, Bhingar three schools with 231 students, Karjat three schools with 164 students and Sonai one school and 126 students.

Village schools: Exclusive of the eight towns of Ahmadnagar, Sangamner, Pathardi, Kharda, Shrigonda, Bhingar, Karjat and Sonai, the district of Ahmadnagar was provided with 223 schools or an average of one school for every six inhabited villages. In the year 1882-83, 1,380 villages with a population of 6,73,769 had 223 schools of which ten were girls schools.

The statistics of the schools and students from 1893 to 1922 in the district is given in Table No. 1.