In Kerala, schools are popularly known as 'Pallikkoodam'. Even though, many people really don't know how this name came into existence, they use it as an alias name for schools or any any place of learning.
The real meaning of 'Pallikkoodam' is 'a place for education established by and adjacent to a Church'. The word "Pallikkoodam" originates from the Malayalam root words - "Palli" meaning 'Church' and "Koodam" meaning 'room/hall'.
Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara was the pioneer who made education accessible to students of all walks of life by issuing a Pastoral letter to the Catholics instructing them to start schools in every parish along with their churches. That is how in Kerala schools are popularly called "Pallikkoodam" - a place for education attached to the church.
The opening of "Pallikkoodam"s, at the instruction of Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara (1805 - 1871), triggered an educational revolution in Kerala. Till then, education was the monopolic right of the uppercasts. The struggeles of Sri Narayana Guru(1856 to 1928), to open temples and schools for lowercasts of Kerala, is a testimony of these hardships. From the very beginning itself these institutions have been opened for all students irrespective of religion or cast.
The opening of "Pallikkoodam"s was a revolution which started(1805 - 1871) even before the beginning of the British Raj (1858 - 1947). Since then, these schools are open for all students irrespective of cast and religion and it pave way for a modern and educated Kerala. Now, Kerala has the highest percentage of literate people in India.
In Sri Lankan Tamil, which has many similarities to Malayalam (with both diverging from Classical Tamil at approximately the same points in history) the word Pallikkoodam is also used. In both instances, the word can be derived from the words "Palli" (school) and koodam (a suffix used to indicate a place).