“The Catholic Church in India has been a true pioneer in promoting education in the country. In fact, the first formal Christian educational enterprise anywhere outside Europe was the Santa Fe School in Goa, started in 1540. Soon more Christian schools appeared in other parts of India: at Bassein (Vasai-1546), at Cochin (1549), at Punnakayil (1567), in Madurai (1595). In 1713 a school was started in Pondicherry and in 1731 a School of High Tamil was started at Ellacurichi, a coastal village in Tamil Nadu.

In the 19th Century a considerable number of Christian educational institutions were founded all over India, many of which were affiliated to the first universities started in the country in 1857. The first ever Girls’ School in India was opened by the missionaries – in 1819 at Kottayam. The Church in India also pioneered technical education in the country, with the first trade schools coming up as early as 1842. It may also be mentioned that a Sanskrit School was opened by the Catholic Church in 1846 at Mannaram, Kerala.”- as per Report of the CBCI Commission National Centres and Regional Bishops’ Councils, 2000-2001 (March, 2002)

After Independence, there has been a massive involvement of the Church in education. Though constituting only 1.7% of the population, the Catholic Church in India today renders services to the Nation to the tune of 500 fold.

Catholic Church is the largest Education provider in the world. In India too after the Government, we are. Important mile stones regarding Christian contribution in Education in India:

1542-45: St. Francis Xavier in Goa with first education initiative (Santa Fe School in Goa)

1546: Christian School at Bassein (Vasai)

1549: Christian School at Cochin

1567: Christian School at Punnakayil

1595: Education Institution at Madurai

1713: School was opened by Christian Missionaries in Pondicherry

1731: A school of high Tamil at Ellacurichi in Tamil Nadu

1817: CMS College Kottayam

1818: Srirampur Christian College, Bengal

1819: First Girls’ School in Kottayam

(1835-40: Lord Macauly introduced English Education to make it easy for the British to communicate with their Indian counterparts in governance, though wrongly people attribute English Education to the Christian Missionaries)

1842: First Trade school (Technical Education)

1844: St. Joseph’s College Trichy

1846: St. Chavara Kuriakose E.- Taught Sanscrit

1860: St. Xavier’s College - Calcutta

1903- 1906: Technical Edu: Montfort / Don Bosco


Number of Catholic Educational Institutes in India : (Total Number 54,937)

1. Medical Colleges & Universities: 12

2. Management Institutions: 25

3. Professional Colleges / Engineering Institutes : 300

4. Degree Colleges (Graduation) : 450

5. Junior Colleges : 5500

6. High Schools : 15000

7. Middle School : 10500