Kerala is ranked as one of the most literate states in India. This shows how important education is among the Keralites. There have been significant contributions made for the progress of education. Earlier there were the Sabha mathams where Vedic knowledge was taught. Then there were the Kalaris, that taught martial arts and schools run by Asans. The Western education began to be widespread with the arrival of Christian missionaries. They have set up numerous schools and other educational institutions. It is these institutions that have shaped the course of education in our state.
Kerala has made significant achievements in the field of social development and standard of life. Kerala has acquired a human development index when compared to the other developed countries. In Kerala the priority is always given to education and literacy. Here, the schools are considered to be the nucleus of the social development. Good education arouses aspirations of the people and the main aim is always to improve the quality of the education provided. The official website of the General Education Department of Government of Kerala is www.education.kerala.gov.in. This department is responsible for administering the education provided in school right from the primary level, secondary level and also teachers training.
To discussion about the education system in Kerala, it is necessary to understand the growth and development of the education profile in Kerala. The present education system in Kerala was started many decades back. It was when the Maharaja of Travancore declared that those who are well versed in English will be given preference in public services. In 1834, with the aim of providing English education, the Raja’s Free School was established by the Government. Earlier in 1818, 33 Vernacular schools were started in Cochin. It was Rev. Dawson, who taught English at that time and he has established an English school at Mattancherry. Gradually many schools were opened in other places such as Thrissur, Thrippunithura and Ernakulam. The first batch that appeared for the matriculation was in the year 1868.
Kerala school of astronomy and mathematics
The Kerala school of astronomy and mathematics was established by Madhava of Sangamagrama in Kerala. The other members are Parameshvara, Neelakanta Somayaji, Jyeshtadeva, Achyuta Pisharati, Melpathur Narayana Bhattathiri and Achyuta Panikkar. The school gained much importance between the period 14th to 16th centuries. As it was a school for mathematics and astronomy they tried to solve astronomical problems. In order to solve such problems, several mathematics concepts were created. One of the most famous results was the expansion for trigonometric functions. It was described in a book called Tantrasangraha written by Neelakanta in Sanskrit. A commentary on this formulation was also written in Tantrasangraha-vakhya. All these theorems did not have any proofs. But the proofs for the series for trigonometric functions were found a century later. It was written in malayalam by Jyesthadeva in Yuktibhasa. All these findings were made long before the invention of calculus which is considered as the first example of a power series. Theory for differentiation and integration was not formulated and also there is no proof of their results being published outside of Kerala.
Today most of the educational institutions at the school and college level are run by the private sectors, government and individuals. These schools are affiliated with boards and some of the main are the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE), the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE), and the Kerala State Education Board. The medium of teaching in most of the schools especially in private schools is English. In government schools either English or Malayalam is used as the language of instruction. Each student completes secondary schooling for 10 years and is then promoted to the higher secondary. There are mainly three streams in higher secondary which are arts, commerce and science. After completing higher secondary one can join for professional or general degree courses. Kerala is first in the Education Development Index (EDI) among 21 other states in India. The EDI is calculated based on the factors such as access, infrastructure, teachers and outcome.
Our state capital, Thiruvananthapuram is one of the main major academic hubs. The University of Kerala and various professional colleges that include 15 engineering colleges, 3 medical colleges, 3 Ayurveda colleges, 2 homeopathic colleges, 6 other medical colleges, and several law colleges are there in this district. Trivandrum Medical College which is Kerala’s chief health institute is being given the rank of an All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). The most famous engineering college in this place is The College of Engineering. In Technopark lies the two main management study institutions; they are The Asian School of Business and IIITM-K. The Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology is also located in Thiruvananthapuram.
The next major educational hub of Kerala is Kochi. The main university here is The Cochin University of Science and Technology which is known simply by the name Cochin University. The colleges in Kochi are mostly affiliated to Mahatma Gandhi University. There are many national educational institutes in Kochi. Some of them are the Nautical and Engineering Training, the National Institute of Oceanography, Central Institute of Fisheries Technology, the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute etc. There is only one college of Fisheries in Kerala and is located at Panangad and it is affiliated to the Kerala Agricultural University. Pothanicad in Ernakulam is the first panchayath in India to achieve 100% literacy.
The main university in Thrissur district is the Kerala Agricultural University. There are many premier institutions here which include the Thrissur Medical College, The Government Engineering College, Govt. Law College, Ayurveda College, College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, College of Horticulture, Forestry etc. Thrissur is famous for its coaching centres for the entrance examinations conducted for medicine and engineering.
Kottayam is the first district to obtain full literacy rate in India. Mahatma Gandhi University is in Kottayam. Some of the main educational institutions in this place are CMS College, Medical College and the Labour India Educational Research Center. CMS college is the first educational institution to begin English education.
Kozhikode is famous for its two main premier educational institutions. They are the IIMK and the National Institute of Technology (NITC). Calicut Medical College is affiliated to the University of Calicut. The Government Law College situated in Calicut fulfills the needs of the total north Malabar region of Kerala.