Kokuvil Hindu College – A Short History
Kokuvil Hindu College is today one of the Reading
Colleges in the Jaffna Peninsula. Until it was taken over by the state in 1960
it was managed by the Board of Directors of Jaffna Hindu College and affiliated
colleges, which was one of the most progressive school board then, Before the
school assumed collegiate status in 1941, it was known as kokuvil Hindu English
School. It was started with few students in 1910 as an Anglo – Vernacular feeder
school to Jaffna Hindu College and it was registered in 1914 as a “grant in –
aid school” with the Government. If was essentially an English medium school as
English education was at a premium at that time, A Tamil school was also setup
in the same premises in 1926 when the school was elevated as junior secondary
school – “C” Grade with classes in the English school up to the J.S.C.level.
Because of the selfless services rendered by a dedicated band of head masters
like. E.Chelliah, S.Thiyagarajah and M.Karthigesu, the school was elevated in
1940 as a senior secondary school “B” Grade with classes upto the London
matriculation level. For all its early achievements the school owes much to Mr.
Karthigesu who with the help of parents, past / pupils and teachers, so
developed the English school that it was raised to collegiate status in 1941.
With the retirement of Mr. Karthigesu in 1943, Mr. S. Seenivasagam succeeded him
and was principal till 1946 when Mr.V.Nagalingam (Shakespeare) of Jaffna Hindu
fame, assurmed principalship of K.H.C Within a short term of two years, Mr.
Nagalingam with foresight provided the school with lands for the school’s
expansion. Nagalingam grounds (21/2 acres) was acquired
during his period, He also secured the donation of land (5 larchems) from the
Wijeyaratnam family – the heirs of the founder of the school Mr. E. Chelliah.
K.H.C was a somewhat obscure school until Mr.S. Handy Perinbanayagam took charge
of it in 1949. The Linga Lights carnival of 1950 brought fame to the school
besides generating funds for the school’s development. To overcome the
accommodation problem he launched on an ambitious building programme and the
first two storied building was constructed and declared open on 27th
January 1961 by Mr. T. Muthuswamipillai, the Board Manager, When Perinbanayagam
retired he left the College with a proud reputation, his ideals, his dignity and
his wisdom he bequeathed to a sub – urban school. He started the dinner
tradition in K.H.C; the pattern of Chief Guests was interesting – Dr. N. M.
Perera, Mr. Wilmot Perera, Sir Claude Corea, Mr. James George and Dr.G.P.
Malalasekera, Mr. C.K.Kanthaswami succeeded Mr. Peribanayagam as principal in
1960 when the College was taken over by the state. He administered the College
with competence and tact. Its educational standards had been up – graded; the
College attained excellent results in public eaminations, In sports, football
and cricket and scouting it came out with flying colours in competitions
amongst Jaffna Schools. In a teaching career spanning nearly three decades Mr.
Kanthasuwami epitomized the best traditions of the education service. When he
retired in 1971. Mr. Kumaraswamy was appointed Principal K.H.C. His term at
Kokuvil did not exceed twelve months and Mr.M.Mahadeva was the next principal
from June 1972
was the first past pupil become principal. He maintained the tone of the school
and continued the building programme as well. When he retired in 1979 Mr. A.
Panchalingam, his deputy, succeeded as principal from January 1980. Both as a
teacher and Vice – Principal Mr. Panchalingam had grown with the school. Ably
assisted by Mrs. S. Supiramaniam, Deputy Principal, Mr. Panchalingam worked hard
to uplift the school both academically and in sports. Mr. Panchalingam served
the College with distinction during the IPKF crisis period in 1987. Despite
severe damage to school buildings, furniture and equipment resulting from IPKF
operations in Kokuvil. Panchalingam strived hard and got the school to function
without any long interruption. A team of over sixty men and women teachers were
inspired to share the load. Work on the other three wings of storied buildings
in the Northern campus was completed in March 1972. They stand as a monument to
the vision and labours of all our Principals.
Mr. R. Mahendran was made Principal of K.H.C when Mr. Panchalingam was
transferred as Principal of Jaffna Hindu College in April 1991. Mahendran’s term
at Kokuvil was also brief barely five years. The College maintained the same
high standard both in education and sports. Mr. Mahendran was largely
responsible for reactivating the dormant Colombo Old Students’ Association in
1994. Branch Old Students’ Associations also sprang up in U.K and Canada and
assisted the school to a great extent. The exodus of people from Jaffna in
October 1995 = led to another crisis in school which could resume normal work at
Kokuvil only on 6th May 1996. Mr.T. Ganeshapillai was appointed performing
principal when Mr. Mahendran was transferred in January 1996 as performing
principal of Jaffna Hindu College. Mr. Ganeshapillai shouldered the burden until
the appointment of Mr. P. Kamalanathan on 24th September 1996 as the permanent
principal when there was only 50% student attendance. The student number picked
up to 1265 in year 1998 and gradually rose to the present strength of 1740
students and 74 teachers in 2004. The College is gradually achieving the pre –
1995 level in all its fields of activity especially when the Principal is
assisted substantially by the past pupil associations set up in U.K, Canada,
Germany, Australia, Norway, Colombo and Kokuvil. The College is now well
equipped with a computer room, laboratory, a good library and an auditoriums.
The Southern Campus of K.H.C had a face lift recently with two new storied
buildings – the first is the majestic Centenary Block, built along side the
Dutch Channel at a cost of over 13 Million rupees by Manickam Subramaniam family
from Kokuvil West in memory of their parents and donated to the College in
November 2004, the second building (abutting the Centenary Block) built at a
cost of over 20 lakhs rupees is a gift by Mrs. Revathy Kamalasingam and S.
Balakumar, Children of our Veteran teacher T. Sinnathamby, in memory of their
father. They are both past pupils of K.H.C and are living in the U.K
Construction was completed by the Jaffna O.S.A and the building was handed over
to the College after a soft opening by Mrs. Kamalanayaki Somasekaram ( a
daughter of late T. Sinnathamby ) and Mr. Somasekaram ( son – in – law ) on 3rd
K.H.C turns ninety eight (98) this year and will be a centenarian school in 2010.
The great days of K.H.C are not of the past, the great days are yet to come.