Gokhle passed away in 1915 and soon after his demise the campaign for compulsory primary education was again started by the late Sri Vithalbhai Patel.
It was Vithalbhai Patel who moved the bill in the Bombay Legislative Council for the introduction of compulsory primary education in Bombay Municipality.
In 1917, he moved a bill in the Bombay Provincial Legislature for introducing compulsory education in the municipal areas (excepting Bombay City) of the state.
The first law ever to be passed in British India in compulsory education was the Bombay Municipality Primary Education Act, 1918, popularly known as the Patel’s Act, after its mover.
It was broadly based on Gokhle’s bill, but made some significant changes which were mainly responsible for its acceptance by the Government.
The main difference between the bill of Gokhle and Patel was that the former wanted to extend his experiment to both urban and rural areas, while the later desired to confine it only to municipalities.
Secondary, Gokhle’s tactical error in insisting that the government should bear two thirds of the expenditure on compulsory education was rectified by Patel who accepted the suggestion made by the Government of India that it should be left to the choice of the State government to give grant-in-aid for schemes of compulsory education.
These two changes particularly the later, weakened the opposition of the Government to the measure and it became law in 1918.
Several states in India followed suit by legislating Compulsory Education Acts in the light of Patel’s Act 1918, suiting their convenience:
- The Bengal Primary Education Act, 1919;
- The Bihar-Orissa Primary Education Act, 1919;
- The Punjab Primary Education Act, 1919
- The Central Provinces Primary Education Act, 1920;
- The Madras Elementary Education Act, 1920;
- The City of Bombay Primary Education Act, 1920.
As in the Patel’s Act, the Acts of the Central Provinces, Madras and the city of Bombay were both applicable to boys and girls. Whereas provinces like Bengal, Bihar and Orissa and Punjab restricted it to boys only. The Patel’s Act fixed the age of compulsion at 6 to 11. The Bengal, Bihar and Orissa Act adopted Gokhle’s age group of 6 to 11.