In the educational setup of Kerala, 'Salais' and 'Sabha Mutts' were mainly intended for the edu cation of the Brahmin youth, Ezhuthupallis (village schools), directed by Ezhuthashan or Asan (school master), functioned for the general education of the non Brahmin Hindus. For Muslims there were Madrasa's for their religious instructions. But the educational condition of the Catholics was deplorable. On the one hand, the Catholic missionaries who had been working in Kerala much earlier than.

the protestant missionaries did not take much interest in the educational needs of their flock. On the other hand, the catholic communitywas afraid of western education on account of the spread of Protestantism in the country. Anyway, the Catholics as a whole were very poor in the field of education till the first half of the 19th century.

In addition to his being a brilliant scholar in literature, he knew Malayalam, Tamil, Sanskrit, Latin, Italian, Portuguese and Syriac, Fr. Kuriakose Elias was a great educationist. It was natural that proficient as he was in several languages he became a powerful influence in the cause of education.

Saint Chavara realized that the community would even remain downtrodden if they did not move with the times and he decided that his new congregation should concentrate on educational work. So in 1846 the monastery at Mannanam started a new institution for Sanskrit studies where the seminarians and students from any caste or religion could sit together and study. As a Catholic institution, it was the first of its kind in the world.

As Vicar General of the Syrians, he took a very bold step, for which the country at large should be grateful to him. He issued a mandate, calling upon all parish churches under his jurisdiction as Vicar General of the Syro-Malabar Church, to raise schools attached to each of them. For the poor students he supplied study materials, clothes and mid-day meals, which even the government schools were not providing at that time.Iftoday the people of Kerala are literate to a high degree, it is largely because of the farsighted policy of Chavara in the establishment of a school for each parish and their students from any religion or caste were admitted.