KOCHI: Started as a society to strengthen girls’ education in Kozhikode, the Government Achuthan Girls Higher Secondary School, Chalappuram, the oldest government girls’ school in the city, has turned 125 this year and is organising numerous programmes as part of the anniversary celebrations.
The school, which was registered as a society for educational promotion for women, was started by Rao Bahadur T M Appu Nedungadi, the author of Kundalatha, the first novel in Malayalam and the founder of the first private bank, Nedungadi Bank, in the state in 1980.
Started as a school with classes I to V by admitting boy students in classes I to III, the school was then handed over to the municipality and later taken over by the government in the 1930s. The first SSLC batch of the school passed out in 1940.
“We have no records at the school on its launch and we gathered information from the first boy student of the school, Dr K Madhavan Kutty, former medical college principal, and through the details in the diary of Appu Nedungadi’s daughter. It was learnt from the diary that Nedungadi Bank was started in 1989 and the school nine years prior to it,” points out Suresh Babu, a teacher at the school.
The school was handed over to the municipality when Appu Nedungadi was relieved of the municipal chairman’s position and his friend Achuthan took charge and it was named after him. The higher secondary batch was started in the school in 2002.
“Even though the caste system was prominent at that time, the admissions to the school were irrespective of caste and class. Both the upper class and lower class children studied together in the school as my grandfather, Appu Nedungadi, was fully against the caste system,” points out Santha Teacher, who joined the school 74 years ago as a student and later as a teacher.
“The medium of teaching was English then and the first batch of teachers was from Germany. Later, when they went back owing to the World War I, teachers were appointed. English, Malayalam and Sanskrit were given equal importance and we even had weaving classes at the school. Moreover, we also had double promotions, where a student who is excellent in studies was given promotion to two classes and I myself was promoted from class I to class III,” recollects Santha.
A logo for the 125th anniversary celebrations was released at the school the other day.
Alumni meet, theatre camp, poets’ meet, workshops on folk songs, planting of 125 trees in the city, etc are being organised by the school as part of the celebrations that began in March. The fete will come to an end in December.