Tirunelveli is considered as the oxford of South India. The District is one of the
most important land marks of Tamilnadu and known for its multifaceted dimensions
of its rich cultural heritage, patriotism and Educational Advancement. The literacy
rate of the distirict is 82.92 %. The literacy rate of male and female of the district
is 89.66% and 76.38% respectively.
In 1878, the number of colleges in the district was two and they were the Madurai
Diraviam Thayumanavar Hindu College and St. John’s College. These are the oldest
colleges in the district. The first college for women and third college of the district,
Sarah Tucker College came up in 1895. The fourth college started in the district
was the St. Xavier’s college of Education and St. Ignatious college of Education
( both are Training Colleges) were established in 1950 and 1957 respectively. In
the year 1963-64, two more colleges, the Paramakalyani College and the Parasakthi
college were added to the list of colleges. Ambai Arts College and Thiruvalluvar
College in 1969, Muthuramalinga Thevar College and Government Arts College for Women
were in 1970, Sadaktathullah Appa College and T.D.M.N.S. College in 1971 were started
in the district. Except for Government Arts College for Women, all other colleges
are aided private colleges run by different educational Trusts.
The details of Educational Institutions in the district are as follows:
In this district, there are three self financing colleges, they are (i) Saratha College
for Women ( 1986 ), (ii) Sattanathakarayalar College( 1994-95) and (iii) Jayaraj Annabakkiam
Of the 17 Arts Colleges that exist in the district at present, eight are co-educational
institutions, five exclusively for girls and four exclusively for boys. The colleges
in Tirunelveli district had been first affiliated to the University of Madras. But
on the creation of the Madurai Kamaraj University in 1966, they had their affiliation
with that University from 1966 to 1990. Again from 1990 they got their affiliation
transferred to the Manonmaniam Sundaranar University on bifurcation. The University
has granted autonomous status to the two premier institutions in the district, viz.
St. Xavier’s College at Palayamkottia and Sri Parasakthi College for Women at Courtallam.
The Regional Directorate of the Collegiate Education in the District was formed
on 10 September 1979, to exercise control over the colleges in Tirunelveli, Thoothukkudi
and Kanniyakumari districts.
Manonmaniam Sundaranar University (MSU) was set up in the year 1990. Named after
the famous poet, Prof. Sundaram Pillai, the University has a strong network of 102
affiliated colleges. Many of these colleges have contributed significantly to the
cause of higher education for many decades. There are five colleges, which are more
than 100 years old. The University campus is located at Abishekapatti, is nine kilometres
away from Tirunelveli Town.
Advanced studies are offered in various departments and faculties. Post graduate
programmes in Chemistry, Communication, Computer Science, English, Environmental
studies, History, Mathematics, Physics, Sociology and Statistics are being currently
Complementary to this excercise, the University has introduced a compulsory component
of foundation courses as part IV. The courses relate to History of Freedom Movement
in India, Gandhian Thought, Ecology, Environment and Pollution studies, Status of
Women in India, History of Science, Indian Economy Since Independence, Rural India,
Consumer Protection and Social Responsibility in Business and Secularism.
The University has set up the centre for Environmental studies at Alwarkurichi in
collaboration with a leading industrial house (Amalgamations). Eco-friendly ventures
in aquaculture, fishing and agro inputs are encouraged. The centre has developed
an organic manure, Mano compost.
In Tirunelveli district, a Government Law College was opened on 14th October 1996
with an intake of 80 students for three year (Regular) Law course. At the beginning
the college was running at Ponnusamy Pillai Bungalow located on Tiruchendur Road,
Palayamcottai. Now the college is functioning in it newly constructed building.
Now 5 year B.L course is also offered in this college.
The Tirunelveli Government Medical College and its teaching hospital are located
in an extensive area of about 350 acres of land at High Grounds, Palayamcottai.
It was started in the year 1965, affiliated to the University of Madras, with an
admitted strength of 75 students for the academic year 1965-66. However, these students
had to undergo their first year study in the local Arts and Science Colleges. In
July 1966, the first batch of second year MBBS students started attending the classes
in the newly constructed Anatomy Block. Other Departments like Pharmacology, Pathology,
Microbiology and Social and Preventive Medicine started functioning in the subsequent
years and the District Headquarters Hospital was converted into Tirunelveli Medical
College Hospital. This college was affiliated to the Madurai Kamaraj University
subsequent to its inception in the year 1967. Since 1988, on the formation of Dr.
MGR Medical University it has been affiliated to the Medical University.
The college was recognised by the Medical Council of India, New Delhi in 1978. The
number of seats for the MBBS Course was increased from 75 to 100 in 1980 and in
the same year the State Government accorded sanction for the starting of Post-graduate
The following post graduate degree diploma courses are conducted in the college
: M.D. General Medicne-2, M.D. Pathology-1. M.D. Mico Biology-1, M.D.Ortho-2, M.D.
Forensic Medicine-1, M.S. General Surgery-2, D.G.O-4,. The college celebrated its
Silver Jubilee in the year 1990.
The Government Siddha Medical College was started at Palayamkottai on 30th November
1964. This was an affiliated College of the University of Madras till March 1966
and from then on till 1988 it was an affiliate of Madurai Kamaraj University and
since March 1989 to Dr. MGR Medical University.
The history of technical education in the district can be traced back to 1844 when
Mrs. Caldweel, wife of Bishop Caldwell, started a school for girls to teach lace
making at Idyangudi The Government of Tamilnadu set up a State Board of Technical
Education and Training and a separate Directorate of Technical Education with effect
from 1st October 1957. The Directorate of Technical Education has taken over the
administration of both engineering colleges and polytechnics since then.
The Government College of Engineering, was started in October 1981 to fulfill the
needs of the people of the Southern region. At first, the College was functioning
in a bungalow near Tirunelveli Medical College since new buildings were under construction.
Then in 1984 the College started to function in the new buildings in the new campus
with an extent of 25 hectares. The current location is about 8 km. from Tirunelveli
Junction on the Tirunelveli-Trivandrum Highway.
At its inception, the College admitted students for three under-graduate branches,
viz., Civil, Electronics and Communication and Mechanical Engineering, Electrical
and Electronics Engineering was introduced during 1986-87. The Computer Science
and Engineering was added in the year 1989-90. The post-graduate course of Computer
Science and Engineering was introduced in 1994-95.
The Government of Tamilnadu has sanctioned the Third Veterinary College at Tirunelveli
vide G.O. Ms. No. 93, Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries (AH-6) Department
dated 24/08/2011 under the aegis of Taminadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University.
Consequently, the University has commenced the activities of establishing new Veterinary
College and Research Institute at Ramayanpatti in Tirunelveli.
This college is at present functioning at Sripuram Polyclinic campus with an intake
of 40 students. This College has 7 departments (Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry,
Livestock Production and Management, Animal Genetics and Breeding, Animal Nutrition,
Teaching Veterinary Clinical Complex and Instructional Livestock Farm Complex) with
33 teaching staff. The superstructure of this College, Administrative building,
laboratory and hostel (both boys and girls) is going to come up with a tune of Rs.
10 crores in an area of approximately 150 acres at Ramayanpatti. Teaching Veterinary
Clinical Complex is a multispeciality Veterinary hospital with X ray facilities
in Sripuram. Veterinary Specialists in various fields are available in this hospital
to treat all sorts of diseases of animals.