Education in Chennai

Learning in Chennai can be traced back to the year 1854 when the city was known as Madras. In the 19th century and the early 20th century, there were a total of 12,498 schools in Madras which housed more than 188,650 teachers. The ratio of male and female teachers stood at 184,110 male scholars to only 4,540 female scholars. Out of the 12,498 schools, 740 were reinstituted as colleges in the latter half of the twentieth century. The Madras Christian College and the Presidency College which were built in pre independent Chennai continue to operate as two of the best colleges of modern India.

Many prominent personalities have completed their studies from schools or colleges of Chennai, including Chief Minister of Madras – C Rajagopalachari, industrialist – Ramanathan V Guha, novelist – Kaavya Vishwanathan, social activist – Aruna Roy, British musician – Pete Best and many more.

School Education in Chennai

School education in Chennai started with vedic pathshalas. The names of 993 such learning centers have been recorded in history. Reports in history claim that for every 1,000 students there was one vedic patasala available. These learning centers were however not managed or controlled by the government or private bodies, but by the parents of the children enrolled. A Brahmin was put in charge of the patasala, playing the role of the principal.

Today schools in Chennai are either controlled by the Tamil Nadu government, by private bodies, by individuals or sponsored by financial aid from the state government. Tamil and English are the mediums of instruction used in schools across the city. The Tamil Nadu State Board, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) and the National Institute of Open Learning curricula are followed in Chennai schools. Some schools also follow the syllabus of the International Baccalaureate or the American system of schooling. It is compulsory for every child in Chennai to attend three years of kindergarten school, followed by ten years primary & secondary education and two years of higher secondary schooling.

A very unique feature of the Chennai school education system is the compulsory sex education program. In fact, the program has now been made mandatory in Chennai colleges as well.

The most prominent schools of Chennai are St Bede’s Anglo Indian Higher Secondary School, Sri Vidhya Academy International School, Good Shepherd Convent Matriculation School, Krishnamurthi Foundation India and Kendriya Vidyalaya. These schools feature in the top positions of school rankings list of India released every academic year by leading media houses of the country.

Higher Education in Chennai

Chennai is home to some of the best colleges and research institutes in the country. The Madras Presidency was the chosen destination for students from all over India and abroad even during the British reign in the 19th century. Here is a brief introduction to the prominent higher education institutes in the city.

Madras Christian College

Madras Christian College is one of the oldest existing colleges of Asia. The college has been accredited A+ grade by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council. It was set up in the year 1837. The college was ranked first in all three streams of science, arts and commerce by a survey released by India Today at the end of the academic year 2010 – 2011. There are more than 30 courses offered by the college that are either aided by the government of Tamil Nadu or financed by the student. Research facilities in the college are excellent but are not available for every subject that is taught here. Modern vocational courses such as Industrial Fish & Fisheries, Archaeology, Computer Applications and Musicology attract applications from Indians and international students.

Presidency College

This public college of Chennai offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses in arts, science, commerce and law. Established in the year 1840, the Presidency College is one among the oldest public arts colleges of India. It is also the second Presidency institute to be built by the British after the Presidency College, Kolkata.

Loyola College

The Loyola College was opened by Frenchman Father Antony Raj with aid from a Jesuit group in the year 1925. The courses offered by the college are patterned on the likes of Cambridge University, Oxford University and London School of Economics. India Today has ranked Loyola College as the best humanities and science college in India for five successive academic sessions.

IIT Madras

The Indian Institute of Technology in Madras was set up with financial aid from erstwhile West Germany in the year 1959. This was the third IIT to be built in India and since then has remained a popular choice for budding engineers in the country and abroad because of the superior placement facilities provided by the college authorities. In the year 2011, the number of companies visiting IIT Chennai was 126, more than the number recorded at the other IIT campuses in India.

College of Engineering, Guindy

Built in the year 1794, this is the oldest engineering & technical institute of India. It was ranked 12th in the list of the best engineering colleges of 2011 by Outlook India.

Madras Institute of Technology

Set up in the year 1949, this was the first postgraduate learning centre to offer courses in mechatronics and avionics. It is also one among the autonomous colleges under Anna University.

University of Madras

This public research university is the third oldest university of India after University of Calcutta and Mumbai. It was established in 1857 and has been declared a ‘University with Potential for Excellence’ by the UGC.

Central Leather Research Institute

Established in the year 1948, this is the largest research center for leather in the world.

Madras Veterinary College

It is the first college in India to offer bachelor’s course in veterinary science. The college started operations in 1903.

Madras Medical College

Set up in the year 1835, this is the oldest medical college of India. Though it started operations as an independent university, the college is now affiliated to the Tamil Nadu Dr M G R medical University.

Stanley Medical College

This public medical college was set up in 1938. It was declared the 25th best medical college in India in the 2011 India Today survey.

National Institute of Fashion Technology

NIFT Chennai is managed by the ministry of textiles of the government of India. Design, management and technology courses are provided by the institute to empower students to work in the international fashion business domain.

Dr. Ambedkar Government Law College

Formerly known as the Madras Law College, this institute was established in the year 1891. The college has always stood up for political and cast causes in the city.

Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR)

The IFMR was established in 1970 and has been declared a study centre of national importance by the Indian government’s ministry of finance. Besides business degrees, the institute also provides Ph.D in economics and finance.

Asian College of Journalism

Founded in 1994, this journalism school provides post graduation courses in print, television, radio and new media journalism. Applicants must have knowledge of English and general knowledge to qualify in the admission test of the college.

Libraries in Chennai

The libraries in Chennai like the Connemara Public Library, the Theosophical Society Library, the Krishnamurti Foundation Library and the Ramakrishna Math library are storehouses for knowledge for school and college students in Chennai to share. The famous Chennai book banks from where a student can borrow books for a specified time period also play an important role in the education system of Chennai. Some students borrow books for an entire semester, which is also cost effective way of study.

Educational Statistics of Chennai

Literacy Rate 90.33%
Male Literacy Rate 93.47%
Female Literacy Rate 87.16%
No. of Primary Schools 479
No. of Middle Schools 252
No. of Secondary Schools 232
No. of Higher Secondary Schools 426
No. of Colleges 112
No. of Universities or Research Institutes 7
Deemed Universities 4
Top Schools in Chennai
  • American International School
  • St. Patrick’s Anglo Indian Higher Secondary School
  • Good Shepherd Convent Matriculation School
  • Alagappa Matriculation Higher Secondary School
  • Ramakrishna Mission Higher Secondary School
  • Sushil Hari International Residential School
  • St. Bede’s Anglo Indian Higher Secondary School
  • St. John’s International School
  • Kendriya Vidyalaya
  • Padma Seshadiri Bala Bhavan Secondary School

Major Universities in Chennai

  • Anna University
  • The Tamil Nadu Open University
  • Tamil Nadu Physical Education and Sports University
  • SRM University
  • Annamalai University
  • Dr M.G.R. Medical University
  • Indian Institute of Technology
  • Tamil Nadu Veterinary & Animal Sciences University
  • Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University
  • University of Madras
  • St Peter’s University

Top Colleges in Chennai under the different categories

Top Engineering Colleges in Chennai

  • Crescent Engineering College
  • Aarupadai Veedu Institute of Technology
  • AJ College of Engineering
  • SRM Engineering College
  • Dhaanish Ahmed College of Engineering
  • Madras Institute of Technology
  • KCG College of Technology
  • Thangavelu Engineering College
  • Vel Tech Engineering College
  • TJ Institute of Technology

Top Medical Colleges in Chennai

Top MBA Colleges

  • Asan Memorial Institute of Management
  • Panimalar Institute of Management Studies & Computer Science
  • National Institute of Port Management
  • ITM Business School
  • Meenakshi Sundararajan School of Management
  • Apollo Institute of Hospital Management and Allied Sciences
  • Loyola Institute of Business Administration
  • National Institute of Business Management
  • Natesan Institute of Co-operative Management

Top Science Colleges in Chennai

  • Tagore Arts And Science College
  • Presidency College
  • Queen Mary’s College
  • Stella Maris College
  • Dr. MGR-Janaki College of Arts and Science for Women
  • Mohamed Sathak College of Arts & Science
  • Loyola College
  • Dwarakadass Govardhandass Vaishnav College
  • Mar Gregorios College

Top Commerce Colleges in Chennai

Top Arts Colleges in Chennai

Top MCA Colleges

  • Madras Institute of Technology
  • SRM Institute of Science and Technology
  • National Institute of Technology
  • SN College of Engineering
  • S.S.K College
  • Aarupadai Veedu Institute of Technology
  • Hindustan College of Engineering
  • Bharath Engineering College

Top Fashion Designing Colleges

  • Institute of Design
  • Lexicon School of Fashion
  • S.C.S. Kothari Academy For Women

Top Journalism Colleges

Top Law Colleges

  • The Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University
  • Dr. Ambedkar Government Law College
  • Faculty of Law, University of Madras

Top B.Ed Colleges

  • Lady Willingdon Institute Of Advanced Study
  • Loyola College
  • Sivanthi College Of Education
  • SRM Teacher Training & Research Institute
  • Anglo Indian Teacher Training School

Top Animation Colleges

  • Zee Institute of Creative Art
  • Saraswati Institute of Animation
  • ICAT
  • Arena Animation
  • Accel Animation Academy

Top Advertising Colleges

  • Chennai Christian College

Top Music Colleges

  • Queen Mary’s College
  • Annamalai University
  • Faculty of Arts, University of Madras
  • Rukmini Devi College of Fine Arts

Top Acting/Drama Colleges

  • Film and Television Institute of Tamil Nadu