Edward College was established in Pabna by Sri Gopal Chandra Lahiri in 1898. A college section of FA standard was introduced later in Pabna Institution School. The College got affiliation of Calcutta University. Initially the college had 26 students only. In 1906, the college was renamed as Pabna College and a board of directors was constituted to run it. In 1911 the college was renamed again as Edward College in memory of King Edward the Seventh. The founder Sri Gopal Chanda Lahiri was the Principal of the College till 1914. His successor Roy Radhika Nath Bose, popularly known as R Bose served the college as its principal for long 34 years. English, History, Logic, Mathematics, Science, Sanskrit, Arabic and Persian were over time included for teaching. Ray Bahadur Banamali Roy, Zamindar of Tarash made a commitment in August 1912 to donate fifty thousand rupees for the development of the college. Subsequently, the Governor of Bengal Lord Carmichael announced an annual grant of the same amount for the college. In response to an appeal to donate to the college, many philanthropic people came forward in support of the college. In response to that appeal many philanthropic people donated to the college fund. They included the raja of Kashimbazar Sir Manindra' Chandra Nandi, Zamindar of Porgana Jogesh Chandra Bhaduri, Daughter-in-law of the Zamindar of Dulai Sharifunnesa Choudhurani, Zamindar of Tatiband Kshirod Gobinda Choudhuri and Bar-at-law KN Choudhuri of Haripur. Meanwhile, Gopi Sundari Dassya and Debendra Narayan Singh two successors of Zamindar of Kushtia Amla Sadar, Pyari Sundari Dassya donated about sixteen acres of land of Radhanagar Mouja, Pabna, for the college.
During the 1915-16 session, science group was opened in the intermediate class and the Science Building of the College was built in 1924. BSc course was introduced in the following year. The arts building was constructed in 1937 with the money donated by Snehalata Roy, wife of Professor Hem Chandra Roy. In 1940 the college was given the first class status following the introduction of BA course. Honours courses in different subjects were introduced later on-Bangla in 1954, Economics in 1955 and Physics, Chemistry and Management in 1972. MA courses in Bangla and Economics were introduced in 1973. The area of the college expanded to 49 acres with acquisition of more land around it. Meanwhile on 1 March in 1968 the Provincial Government of East Pakistan took over the management of the college. During nationalisation, the number of students was 2613. The physical infrastructure of the college was further improved under the Government College Development Project in 1978. Finally in 1987, under the University College Development Project 8 colleges of the country including this one were developed in a massive way. About 30 million taka was spent for this purpose from 1987 to 1990.
The number of honours courses stood at 12 in 1987 with the introduction of same level of courses in English, Chemistry, Botany, Accountancy, Political Science, Philosophy and History. Edward College used to offer masters courses in 12 subjects by 1995. Intermediate section was closed down from the 1997-98 session and in the following two sessions honours and masters courses in Islamic History and Culture, Sociology and Zoology were introduced. As a result the number of discipline having both honours and masters courses now (2010) stands at 15. About 18 thousand students are engaged in pursuit of knowledge here. The Education Ministry has divided all Government colleges of the country into 6 grades and Edward College belongs to the top grade of AA. There are eleven Professors, 36 Associate Professors, 46 Assistant Professors and 53 Lecturers in the college. Moreover it has 43 regular supporting staffs and 36 masters roll employees.
The infrastructures of Edward College include-Old Science Building, Administrative Building, New Science Building (two-storied), Botany Building (three-storied), Library Building (number of books about thirty thousand), New Arts Building (three-storied, accommodated the departments of Economics, English and History), Old Arts Building (three-Storied), Bangla Building (two-storied), Philosophy Building (two-storied), Management Building (three-storied), Accountancy Building (three-storied), six student hostels (two for girls). Central Mosque (two-storied), Auditorium, Principal's Bunglow, Central Cafe-cum-students common room, Gymnasium, Students Union Building, Teachers Dormitory (four-storied), Hostel Super's Quarters (2), Shaheed Minar and two playgrounds. Moreover, each department has separate seminar room and library. There are four buses for facilitating the transportation of students. The college authority regularly organises indoor games completion, literary, religious and cultural programs, seminar, dabate and study tour for the students. Poor and meritorious students are also given financial support from the college fund. It also conducts regular programmes of BNCC, Rover Scout and Girls in Rover.
Edward College was a leading educational institution of Bengal in British India. That historical glory and tradition have turned it into one of the best colleges of the country. The century-old Edward College is still playing a lead role in pursuit of knowledge and expansion of education. [Md Abdul Mottalib]