Education in Kanyakumari District
The Christian Missionaries, as elsewhere in India, were the pioneers of English Education in the erstwhile Travancore State and more particularly in the South - Travancore, the area that presently forms the Kanyakumari District. The first missionary Rev. William Tobias RingleTaube a native of Prussia and a man of great force and character. He came to the State in 1806 and opened schools wherever he established a church. He taught the students English, Tamil, Mathematics and Scripture. Ringeltaube gets the credit of being the first to introduce English Education in Travancore.
Next came Charles Mead who deserves the credit for introducing systematic English Education in Travancore. In 1819 Mead started a seminary in Nagercoil. His wife and the wives of other missionaries stationed at Nagercoil started girls’ schools as well as boarding schools for the slave girls. Mead also started schools exclusively for the Hindus and Muslims. The seminary started by Mead grew into a Second Grade College in Travancore in the year 1893. This college had produced eminent men useful to hold high posts in the government. Hence it attracted the king and he sought the help of the missionaries for a similar educational work in the entire country. Missionaries established a network of schools based on all their mission centres catering to the need of the citizens of Travancore without caste or religious discrimination. The missionaries also started industrial schools with a view to provide employment.
The progress of education through his instrumentality may be inferred from his reply to a query from Col. Munro, the Dewan Resident of Travancore in 1813. He wrote that,
“There were six schools for the laity; the instructions that are given, consist in lessons of reading, writing, arithmetic and to Christian children the catechism and reading the New Testament or religious books. The natives were not disposed to send their children to school. Books were supplied presented from the Missionaries at Tranquebar but not in sufficient number”. RingleTaube’s noble efforts in the spread of education was aided through the recommendation of the Resident Col. Munro, by a grant of land at a nominal rent made by Rani Laxmi Bai. Rev. Ringle Taub bid farewell to the little church, Mylaudy of south Travancore in January 1816 and left this country. During the short period of ten years (1806 to 1816), he laid the foundation not only for the growth of the Christianity, but alas for the popular education in the area.
Kanyakumari District has a literacy rate of 87.6%. A variety of colleges of higher education are found throughout the district, mainly art, science and engineering colleges. The Scott Christian College, founded by RingleTaube in Nagercoil, is more than 100 years old.
The state runs the Kanyakumari Medical College at Asaripallam, near Nagercoil.
Number of Schools in Kanyakumari district:
Pre-primary schools - 83
Primary schools - 413
Middle schools - 147
High schools - 121
Higher secondary schools - 120
Total - 884
Number of Colleges in Kanyakumari district:
Aided colleges - 12
Self financing colleges -4
Colleges for special education -8
Colleges for professional education - 25