A crusading educationist, Vidyasagar believed in synthesising Sanskrit and English learning and to draw upon the best of Indian and Western traditions. He set up a chain of schools, both for vernacular education and for girls, as also the Metropolitan College, Kolkata. He bore the expenses in the running of these schools and raised funds from the sale of his books in Bengali which were specially designed for school children. These remained the staple of childrens. reading for a century and more.
As Principal of the Sanskrit College (Calcutta), he opened it up for all castes. It was due to his persistent campaign that the Widow Remarriage Act, 1856 was finally passed. He called that the greatest achievement of his life. He led a campaign against polygamy.
His uncompromising principles, his spartan life, his generosity made him perhaps one of the most eminent of Bengali public figures in his life time.