The school near Car Street which has produced likes of the late Justice K.S. Hegde and writer Kayyara Kinhanna Rai, is on the threshold of a landmark. It is completing 175 years of its existence on Saturday. It is said that the late Ferdinand Kittel, the man behind the coveted Kannada-English dictionary, had taught here.

One of the oldest educational institutes in South India, Basel Evangelical Mission Educational Institutions — more popularly known as B.E.M. Educational Institutes — now has 480 students, from lower primary to the pre-university classes. Established in 1838 by German Christian missionaries, the high school section was added in 1888.

Walter J. Maben, president of the management committee of the group of institutions, threw light on its history at a press meet on Thursday: “Till the First World War, the school was under the charge of German and Swiss missionaries. During the war, Germany was on the warpath with the British government, which was ruling India. This led to some complications and problems in administrating the properties of the Basel Mission, including B.E.M. schools. In 1918, the management was transferred to Indians.”

It received permanent recognition from the Madras government in 1940. Since 1959, the school is managed by South Kanara Educational and Cultural Society. A website of the institute would be launched on Saturday. A procession would be taken out on the premises of the educational institutes at 9 a.m. prior to the inauguration of events, followed by cultural programme by students. The management has planned a series of events – exhibition, seminar, and competitions till January 2014.

A leaf of history

An admission register with records dating back to 1893 is still maintained in the office of B.E.M. Educational Institutes.

U. Shivan Pala was the first to get admitted to ‘IV form’ on January 25, 1893, it informs. He left the school in July 1906 when he was in the ‘VI form’.

Walter J. Maben, president of the school management committee, said that some of the old documents of the school are with German missionaries in Switzerland and Germany.

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