over 90% literacy ranks as India's most literate state. It
spends more on education than any other state, in fact
than many other countries. Kerala standards are
impressive in terms of years of schooling, number of
educational institutions, enrolment in higher education
and results. Education has always been important in Kerala
and is seen as a means to acquiring dignified behaviour,
cultural traits and respect.
In the early days Buddhists and Jains developed
educational institutions called salais, and these
continued after the conversion to Hinduism. But with the
coming in of the caste system education became the
privilege of the upper sections of society. Things began
to change in the latter part of the 19th century when the
need arose for a well-trained government work force.
Christian missionaries began to establish schools for
lower caste people.
During this time, with more state involvement, education
became free and compulsory for children up to the age of
10. Private organisations continued and even today a great
part of school and college education is privately
administered. A university was established in Travancore
in 1937, which after the formation of Kerala became the
University of Kerala in 1956. Since then six more
universities have been established.