Century-old Balikamatom School to admit boys too in all classes

The Balikamatom Residential School was launched in 1904: Manorama

Thiruvalla: For the first time since it was founded over a century ago, the Balikamatom Higher Secondary School at Thirumoolapuram, near here, will allow boys to study in classes from 5 to 12. Admissions to these classes for male students started on Monday after the orders in this regard were issued by Kerala Education Minister V Sivankutty.

Balikamatom was started by Kandathil Varghese Mappillai, founder of Malayala Manorama and a social reformer, in the early 1900s as he wished to educate girls, who were mostly confined to their homes during those days. For setting up a girls’ school, Varghese Mappillai donated Cherukunnu, a hill located beside the M C Road near Thiruvalla, which was his family property. The timber required for the buildings were arranged by Sree Moolam Thirunal, the Maharaja of Travancore. The king also gave permission to Varghese Mappillai to organise a lottery to collect funds for setting up the school.

The Balikamatom Residential School was launched in 1904 by Kerala Varma Valiya Koyithampuram by lighting a lamp.

However, classes could not be started at the school following the demise of Varghese Mappillai that year itself. Later, his son K V Eapen initiated measures to resume the functioning of the school. In 1920, two overseas women, Miss Holmes and Miss Brooke Smith, took over the activities of Balikamatom and classes soon started with 50 students. The inauguration of the school with students was done by Lady Wellington in the presence of Governor of Madras Lord Wellington, on October 24, 1920.

During the 102 years of its functioning, boys were admitted only up to Class 4 so far. Presently, there are classes from LKG to higher secondary, making Balikamatom one among the prestigious residential schools in Central Travancore. Higher secondary classes were started in 1998 and there are three Science batches, two Commerce batches and two Humanities batches.

The building constructed by Varghese Mappillai still exists on the premises and functions as a hostel. Recently, this building was renovated retaining its old glory at a cost of Rs 3 crore. The design of the reconstruction was provided by Suvarnarekha Architects, a Kottayam-based firm.


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