The DTEA Schools, New Delhi, initially known as the MEA Schools have a proud record of being one of the capital’s important educational institutions for 94 years. The institution, which began literally as a one teacher-one student “school”, has today grown into seven large branches distributed in prime localities of Delhi with a student population of almost ten thousand.
The MEA Schools were rechristened as the DTEA Schools in 1972 when the name of the name of the umbrella administrative body of the schools, the Madrasi Education Association (MEA), was changed to the present Delhi Tamil Education Association (DTEA). These DTEA Schools are government aided linguistic minority institutions under the management of the DTEA and are affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), New Delhi.
The seeds for this great institution were sown on the Vijayadasami day of 1923 (October 19) at the residence of the visionary Late Rao Bahadur Gopala Iyer (47, Havelock Square, New Delhi), with late Mr. P. H. Sundaresan Iyer (popularly known as PHS Iyer) as the first teacher, whom Mr. Gopala Iyer had brought from Tirunelveli to teach her daughter Tamil, and the daughter G. Meenakshi (later Ms. Meenakshi Thyagarajan) as the first student. With help from other like-minded members of the Tamil community serving the erstwhile British in government jobs, the effort culminated in the founding of a school, which was registered in the year 1925 under the name of Madrasi School.
In those days, the entire government machinery used to shift from Delhi to Shimla for four months during every summer. So along went the South Indian employees of the government, their children and the Madrasi School. During that period, the school functioned from 18, Nabha Estate in Shimla. The temporary lodging of the school continued at Havelock Square and then shifted to 15, Queensway (now Janpath) in Delhi. Soon, the school got recognition from the Superintendent of Education, Delhi. The school later shifted to a wing of Municipal Boys School (better known as M. B. School) on the Reading Road (now known as Mandir Marg) in 1931.
Among the teachers who joined the school in its formative years were Sanjoli Saar, Ramachandra Rao Saar and Pandey Saar (Mr. Tikaram Pandey). Around 1938-39, respected Mr. K. Suryanarayanan joined the school who later became its principal and served the institution for 27 years.
The fifth class at the “Reading Road Madrasi School” opened in 1940 and it became a middle school in 1945. The same year, the foundation stone for a permanent building was laid by Mr. Christie, ICS and Chief Commissioner of Delhi, at a site just next to the MB School and which is where the school, which is at present called as the DTEA Senior Secondary School, Mandir Marg, stands even today. The building was inaugurated in 1946 by the than the then Governor General Mr. C. Rajagopalachari (Rajaji).
The higher secondary department too began in 1946 and it became a full-fledged higher secondary school (up to Class XI) in 1948. The first batch of students appeared for the higher secondary examination in 1949. Among them was the noted Padma Bhushan Professor V. Rajaraman, the well-known computer scientist (now Professor Emeritus at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore) who stood first in the state of Delhi. It was in the same year the name of the school also became Madrasi Education Association (MEA) Higher Secondary School.
By the year of the school’s Silver Jubilee, when both the first teacher, Mr. PHS Iyer and the first student, Ms. Meenakshi were felicitated, the school had grown in its numerical strength of all the eleven classesl. 1930-50 was also the period when some extremely dedicated teachers like Mr. T. R. Rajagopalan Iyengar, Mr. N. M. Rajaram, Mr. V. Subramanian, Ms. Bhuvaneshwari, Ms. Jayalakshmi, Ms. Padma, Mr. J. N. Ganju, Mr. H. C. Shali, Chunda saar, Ms. Lalitha Sundaresan, Mr. David Gnaniah, Ms. Visalakshi (Chitti Teacher), Ms. V. S. Rajalakshmi, Ms. Shanthamma Mathews, Ms. Kamala Doraiswamy and Ms. Mercy Thavaraj.
The “Madrasi School” at Lodi Estate (now known as the DTEA Senior Secondary School, Lodi Estate) was the second branch to come up. It was established in 1951 in view of the increasing demand and necessity. Following the completion of the Lodi Estate School’s own building in 1955, the Higher Secondary classes from the Mandir Marg were also moved to Lodi Estate in 1956. The present Lodi Estate School building was inaugurated by Mr. K. Kamaraj, the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, in 1955.
During 1950-75, the school grew along with the growth of Delhi and its South Indian population, necessitating opening of more branches. Today there are seven branches and an eighth one at Mayur Vihar should become a reality in a few years.
The Table below describes the growth.
|School Location||Begin Primary School||Begin Middle Secondary||Begin Higher Building||Own School||Inauguration|
|Mandir Marg||1931||1945||1949||1946||C. Rajagopalachari (Reading Road)|
|Lodi Estate||1951||1955||1956||1955||K. Kamaraj|
|Laxmi Bai Nagar||1958||1963||1961||Foundation Stone by Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru|
|Pusa Road (Karol Bagh)||1953||1960||1963||1969||Foundation Stone by M. Bhaktavatsalam (1963)|
|Moti Bagh||1961||1963||1970||1972||Indira Gandhi (1975)|
|R. K.Puram||1964||1965||1968||1971||M. Karunanidhi (1972)|
|Janakpuri||1975||1975||1986||1975||Took Over from Janakpuri Tamil Association|
In the history of the DTEA Schools only two teachers, Mr. K. Suryanarayanan and Ms. Visalakshi (Chitti teacher), were awarded President’s National Best Teacher Award when they were teaching at the DTEA Lodi Estate School.
Some prominent principals of the MEA/DTEA Schools over the nearly nine decades of serving the South Indian community of the capital city include: Mr. P.H.S. Iyer (Founder teacher), Mr. K. Suryanarayanan, Mr. M. David Gnanaiah, Mr. V. Subramanian, Mr. T. Rajagopalan, Mr. N. M. Rajaram, Mr. J. N. Ganju, Mr. M. Sivaramakrishnan, Ms. Remani K. Raman, Mr. S. R. Awasthi, Mr. R. P. Easwaran, Mr. S. Easwaran, Ms. S. Jayalakshmi, Mr. L. M. Sharma, Mr. Jaipal Chandra, Mr. Vikaram Deva, Mr. R.D Sharma, Mr. S. Natarajan , Ms. Indu Bala, Mr. Hari Om, Ms. P. V. Santosh, Ms. G. Vijayalakshmi, Ms. Vasantha Rajagopalan (a 1967 batch alumnus), Ms. Saroj Gupta, Ms. Veena Grover and Ms. Geeta Arunachalam