Educational System Of The Danish Mission In Tamilnadu



The 18th Century saw the beginnings of Protestant missionary work in India, Ziegenbalg and Plutschav, two godly General were the first protestant missionaries. They were sent out by King Frederick IV of Denmark to preach the Gospel in the Danish possessions in India and arrived at Tranquebar on 9th July 1706 A.D. The Danish mission was an inter -continental and ecumenical organization. The Institution supporting and promoting the mission the Danish royal house as founder and initiator, the Mission Board in Copenhagen, the Francke Foundation in Halle, the society for promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK) in London, the trading companies, individual and group donors belonged to different nationalities and religious groups. The Danish mission approached the assignment with much more consequence and transferred the principle of mission from a German University town to an Indian trade centre. The Indians should be convinced to believe in Christianity and work of God just like the missionaries did. However the missionaries had arrived in an area where a system already existed based on village and temple schools. The traditional school system did not provide education for all children. Soon after their arrival in Tranquebar Ziegenbalg and plutschau established mission schools in their own houses. Plutschau set up a Portuguese school in which Danish and German were also taught, while Ziegenbalg set up a Tamil school. The school activities grew fast and soon education had to move from the private. In 1716, the mission school complex in Tranqubar town consisted of five schools; a Malabar boys schools, a Malabar girls school, a Malabar boarding school, a Portuguese boys and girls school a Danish boys and girls school. Forty of the total of 104 pupils in the five schools received full board and lodging by the mission. In addition to the primary schools the mission had founded a training institute for Indian adults, where they could learn theology, catechization, language and other sciences. This organization reflects a number of basic principles for the school activities of the Danish Mission; European and non –European children were taught separately and there was a different syllabus for each group. The teaching in the schools was based on the mother tongue of the pupils. The main language of the children decided, if there were placed in a Malabar, Portuguese, or Danish school. As in the Halle Foundation they followed the principle that girls and boys should be instructed separately, apart from the, one teacher schools, where it was necessary for all the children to be educated in the same class room. The school activities had by the end of the 1730s grown to such an extent that it was necessary to build a new school complex in Tranquebar town. . Education was a centre of the activities of the Danish Mission and holds the key to an understanding of its considerable impact on the Tamil Nadu.