Education in Kerala - History


Education in Kerala had been promoted during British rule in India by Catholic and other Christian missionaries who were keen on providing education to all sections of society and strengthening of women, without any kind of discrimination. The contributions of Catholic priests and nuns are very crucial and has played a major role in educating women and people belonging to lower strata of society surpassing many social hurdles. A significant figure in the 19th century was Kuriakose Elias Chavara who started a system called "A school along with every church" to make education available for both poor and rich which still continues in the present. His work has resulted in promoting education for girls and is notable for becoming a good model for educational system in Kerala after independence. Kerala's high literacy rate is attributed to high girl literacy rate as it is said, "When a women is educated, she will make sure that her children are well-educated."

The Kerala school of astronomy and mathematics was founded by Madhava of Sangamagrama in Kerala, which included among its members: ParameshvaraNeelakanta SomayajiJyeshtadeva,Achyuta PisharatiMelpathur Narayana Bhattathiri and Achyuta Panikkar. The school flourished between the 14th and 16th centuries and the original discoveries of the school seems to have ended with Narayana Bhattathiri (1559–1632). In attempting to solve astronomical problems, the Kerala school independently created a number of important mathematics concepts. Their most important results—series expansion for trigonometric functions—were described in Sanskrit verse in a book by Neelakanta called Tantrasangraha, and again in a commentary on this work, calledTantrasangraha-vakhya, of unknown authorship. The theorems were stated without proof, but proofs for the series for sine, cosine, and inverse tangent were provided a century later in the workYuktibhāṣā (c.1500-1610), written in Malayalam, by Jyesthadeva, and also in a commentary on Tantrasangraha.

Their work, completed two centuries before the invention of calculus in Europe, provided what is now considered the first example of a power series (apart from geometric series). However, they did not formulate a systematic theory of differentiation and integration, nor is there any direct evidence of their results being transmitted outside Kerala.

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