Through its life span, Nalanda College Colombo has gifted its motherland with great personalities in all fields such as world renowned scientists, administrators, entrepreneurs, diplomats and defense personnel.
The college was established in 1924 by the Theosophical Society, directed by Sir Henry Steele Olcott and Anagarika Dharmapala, the pioneers in establishing Buddhist educational institutes, as a branch of Ananda College on the request of erudite and eminent educationalist Mr. P.de.S. Kularathna who was Principal of Ananda College at that time. Then Governor, Sir Graham Thomson donated a block of land where Nalanda College is situated presently, with a small building thatched with cadjan. Mr. L.H. Mettananda secured the honours of being the first principal and this branch was named as “Nalanda”, the name proposed by the Most Venerable Agga Maha Panditha Rev. Balangoda Ananda Maithiriya Thera having the School Motto: “Apadana Sobini Pangna”- Character Illuminates Wisdom.
In 1925, Nalanda was registered as a separate school and the scholarly intellectual Dr. G.P.Malalasekera was appointed the Principal. This prestigious college has been graced by the eloquence of 15 erudite Principals starting from Mr. L. H. Mettananda to Mr. Ranjith Jayasundara to date and expanded during its glorious 89 years to the present situation with the state of the art facilities and infrastructure. In 1926, Father of Non-violence Movement, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi visited this much revered premises. The year 1924 marked the inauguration of first ever Ananda-Nalanda Big Match known as the “Battle of the Maroons”. Mr. B.S. Perera was the first captain of Nalanda and from there onwards Nalanda has been very popular for its cricket and produced the firstt Test Captain, BandulaWarnapura and the captain of Sri Lanka team for the 2007 World Cup Mahela Jayawardena. When the Sri Lanka team won the Cricket World Cup in 1996, noteworthy contributions were given by the Old Nalandians Roshan Mahanama, Asanka Gurusinghe and Kumar Dharmasena.
In 1956 Sinhala medium education was initiated at the school and the first ever rocket launch by a group of students took place during this year at an Inter-School Science exhibition. During this period the inception of Social Services Association pioneered by Dr. A.T. Ariyarathna, then a teacher at Nalanda, expanded to national level as Sarvodaya. During 1969 to 1980 most of the buildings were established and the school started to provide hostel facilities to the scholars.
In 1979, Nalanda was blessed with a new shrine room which is located in the new three storied building having the main library and the auditorium on either side. The language laboratory is another addition where the students have the opportunity to improve their different language skills. In 1990 the Malalsekera Theatre was gifted to improve the aesthetics and the performing art skills of the young Nalandians.
During 1999 to 2009 the school facilities were expanded with a swimming pool, indoor badminton courts, a squash court and the new pavilion. Computer facilities have been provided for the students to improve their ICT knowledge.
During this period, the college reached its height in the academic field by producing best students in the Island in the Advanced Level, both in science and commerce streams and at the G.C.E.(O/L) examinations. Also in the sports fields and extracurricular activities the college has reached national and international targets.
Hence with a new vision, the Principal Mr. Ranjith Jayasundara with the help of efficient academic staff geared the school towards the International arena, keeping in mind to equip students to reach the mini Nobel in the academic field as well as to target the Olympic or Commonwealth Games in sports.
In 2011 a team of students emerged champions at the World Oracle Think Quest Software Competition by beating 27,000 schools from 54 countries. In 2012/2013 two students brought honour to the alma mater by being Island champions at the Science and Engineering fair organised by the Sri Lanka Science Foundation and represented Sri Lanka at the International Science and Engineering Fair held in the U.S.A. which is normally called as the ‘Mini Nobel’ for students.
In athletics, Nalanda was able to beat all schools in Colombo and emerged first at the All Island Schools Athletic Meet in 2013 and was able to set a new Sri Lankan record in U-19, 1500m event. Nalanda also obtained first places in U-17, 4x100m, 100m, U-19 800m, and the U-21 long jump. In 2012 the U-17 relay team equaled the Sri Lanka record in 4x100m.
In other sports fields too Nalandians have shown their colours too have represented Sri Lankan teams. As the highest a Nalandian has achieved in athletics G.K.M.N. Sachinthana represented Sri Lanka at the World Junior Athletic Championship (Mini Olympics) held in Ukraine (2012). Another three athletes were selected to represent Sri Lanka at the South Asian Junior Athletics Meet 2013. One student represented Sri Lanka at the World Junior Badminton tournament and another at the World Chess Tournament in 2012. Two students were selected for the Asian Hockey tournament in 2012 and three swimmers took part at the International Life saving competition 2012 held in Australia.
Budding Nalandia artists have bagged some international awards in art competitions too. The school promotes eco-friendly environment as well. As a result, Nalanda College first in the in Sri Lanka and the Best Green School in South Asia at a competition conducted by the Indian Environmental Ministry.
Having a mission of “rewarding Sri Lanka with noble sons with balanced personality, dedicated to serve the country, nation and religion”, the school provides facilities for students to engage in more than 30 games and 35 societies.
Annually they hold the Ranaviru Commemoration Ceremony to pay their respect to war heroes who had sacrificed their lives for the betterment of the motherland. The annual Prize Giving recognises the students who have excelled in the academic field and annual Colours Night honours sportsmen with College Colours. For the first time in 2012, an award ceremony was held to appreciate the International Achievements of the students.
The highest decoration of the college “Nalanda Keerthi Sri” was introduced in 2003 where the Old Nalandians who have rendered great service to the college and at large to the betterment of mankind are honoured. Among them is the President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The latest achievement of the college was in 2003 when the Cadet Platoon emerged joint champions of the Hermann Loos Challenge Trophy at the annual National Cadets Corps Assessment Camp after 34 years.
All OBAs, especially Junior OBA, help the school on all occasions. The SDS &SDC also play a vital role in the rapid progress of the college.
Nalanda College abides by the vision of “gifting the world with great humans who are endowed with virtue and wisdom”. The blessings of Mother Nalanda all the time strengthens the Nalandians to conquer the world.
- Sujitha Miranda