Kal-El is ancient Kryptonian for "Star Child" (S No. 257/2, Oct 1972: "The Greatest Green Lantern of All!"; LSOK; and others).
The House of El was renowned throughout Kryptonian history for their great achievements in sciences and the arts.
Although born on Krypton, young Kal-El was rocketed to safety on Earth by his parents, Jor-El and Lara, before Krypton exploded. Upon his arrival on Earth, Kal-El was adopted by Jonathan and Martha Kent and raised as Clark Kent in Smallville.
(See also Kal-L of Earth-2)