Great Tamil savant Thiruvalluvar in his incomparable work "Thirukkural" has observed as follows which is as relevant today as it was in the past.
"The twain that bore of numbers and of letters give
Are eyes, the wise declare, to all on earth that live."
Learning is excellence of wealth that none destroy;
To man nought else affords reality of joy". --Thirukkural
Before the advent of British in India, education was considered as a private affair. The Governor of Madras Province, Sir Thomas Munro, was responsible to establish the Board of Public Instruction in 1826, which should be considered as the origin of the Education Department. The first set of grants for aided schools was issued in 1855. By 1881, a considerable portion of indigenous institutions had become aided schools and thus they moved from the category of private to public schools.
Under the Local Boards Act 1871, Local Boards were constituted and empowered to open schools and get subsidy from the government. The Madras Elementary Education Act, 1920 enabled the local bodies to levy an educational cess on land or property tax for advancement of elementary education. In 1934 the Taluk Boards were abolished and elementary schools administration was entrusted again to the District Boards. In 1939, District Education Councils were also abolished and the power to recognize elementary schools was restored once again to the Education Department.
Elementary School: It is the aim of the Government to have one elementary school in each village where there is population of 300 and above and where there is no school within one k.m.
Middle School: It is the aim of the Government to have one middle school for every two elementary schools and where there is no middle school within three kms. The students strength in the fifth standard atleast 25.
High School: It is the aim of the Government to have one high school within five km and where there is strength of the eighth standard stood atleast 50. There should be atleast 3 acres of land (for girls schools) or 5 acres of land. Besides this an endowment of Rs.1 lakh is to be created by the local building committee.
Higher Secondary School: It is the aim of the Government to have one higher secondary school within eight km and where the strength of students in 10th standard is 100. Besides this an endowment of Rs.2.00 lakh is to be created by the local building committee. Norms & Criteria for starting/upgrading High and Higher Secondary schools is given in G.O.Ms.No.235 School Education dated 24-05-1997.
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