The village of Kerċem, on the South West of Victoria, is located between the picturesque valley of Lunzjata and the hills of Tal-Mixta, Ta’ Għar Ilma and Ta’ Dbieġi. The boundaries reach as far as Għadira ta’ San Raflu, the cliffs of Xlendi and Ta’ Pinu’s Road, whilst being bounded by six other localities.
The meaning of the word “Kerċem” is unknown. Many were those who in the past have tried to find its meaning, but nobody seems to have succeeded in giving a satisfactory answer. The first time that “Kerċem” was mentioned was in the year 1587, and among the historians who gave an interpretation to this word were Canon Ġann Piet Franġisk Agius de Soldanis, Dunstan G. Bellanti, and more recently Mons. Dr Joseph Bezzina, who says he agrees with De Soldanis, that the word “Kerċem” is derived from some nickname of a fmily who could, long ago, have lived in these parts.
The motto of the village, “Flectar non Frangar” – “Bent but not Broken”, is perhaps inspired by the oak tree (“Quercus” in Latin) and from which some say that the word “Kerċem” originates. This reflects the firm character of people from Kerċem.
Some time after being established as a parish on the 10th March, 1885, early in 1893, the first school was opened in the village by the Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart, but, for one reason or other, had to close down after some time. In 1921, the first state school was opened in a house in Triq San Girgor. Some time later, on the 11th November 1923, this school was transferred to Triq Sarġ were a large and modern school was built which for many years welcomed many pupils from various villages from Gozo, and which is still in use today.
From 1957 a private school was set up in Kerċem – the Saint Theresa School – which is managed by Carmelite Sisters of Saint Teresina. They also opened in Kerċem their first convent in the Maltese Islands. The school is in Triq l-Avukat Anton Calleja. Another school in Kerċem is the “B.E.L.S.”. This school teaches the English language and opened its doors in 1997 in Triq ta’ Doti and is privately managed. It is attended by hundreds of foreign students every year for the learning and practice of the English language.