Gankanda Central College: A guiding light for Sabaragamuwa students | Sunday Observer

Gankanda Central College: A guiding light for Sabaragamuwa students

29 January, 2023

The Pelmadulla Gankanda Central College in the Sabaragamuwa province, is one of the 51 central colleges that was established under a concept of C.W.W Kannangara. Over the years the school’s students have managed to academically shine at all national examinations bringing glory to their school.

The school that commenced 94 years ago on March 3, 1929 as a thatched hut, was called the Ganegoda Buddhist Mixed School. The school, set up with the generosity of Gankanda Muhandiramge Dingiri, Punchi Mahattaya and Heen Mahattaya, is now a leading national school. Starting with just 40 students the school now educates over 2800 students. It has 125 teachers and 32 non academic staff.

First principal

Principal M. Sudheera J.G Fonseka

D.S.R Kulasuriya was the school’s first principal while D.H. Subasinghe was its first teacher. The school was declared a central college on 3 January 1946. By this time the school had 423 students and became a national school in August 1991.

During the tenure of the current Principal M. Sudheera J. G Fonseka the school has been able to secure many victories. The tenure of Principal Neil Wathukarawatta, was also a golden age for the school. The development achieved by the school during his time continues to date with the efforts of the current school management board.

268 students from the school faced the Ordinary Level examination held recently. All of them got through qualifying all of them to sit for the Advanced Level examinations making their pass level a 100 percent. From 2017 until now, 100 percent pass rate of Gankanda College students is a remarkable feat.

This year Gankanda students got 12 A 9 passes, 22 A 8 passes, 22 A 7 passes and 34 A 6 passes. According to the results, 192 A grades were obtained in Mathematics, 78 in Science and 77 in English. Not only the 2021 class, but also compared to the past few years, Gankanda school children managed to set similar positive records. At the 2020 general examination, these children managed to get 196 A grades in History, 209 A grades in Buddhism in 2019, 115 A grades in Mathematics in 2018, and 139 A grades in Mathematics in 2017. The students have often passed difficult subjects with ease due to the teaching methods used by the school.

As all other students, the children of the Gankanda Central College were required to study online during the Covid pandemic. For that purpose, 6 classrooms with modern technical tools were prepared in collaboration with the IT department of the school. Although only teachers living in remote areas taught online from home, all other teachers started providing online education to students through these online classrooms in the school regardless of the difficulties.

Specific timetables were prepared separately for all the 6 classrooms and all the monitoring activities were done by the principal, the management board and the department heads.

Technical problems

The school started in a thatched complex 94 years ago

Among the past pupils of the school provided the equipment and tools to reduce the technical problems faced by children in the areas with low mobile signal quality. Since the techniques to mitigate technical problems were introduced from the beginning, it was possible to conduct assessments online for the school’s students. Although there were some difficulties in conducting the exams, the fact that the children were able to endure all of them and continue on this path was one of the reasons for this victory.

The school management also set up special procedures to be implemented when children were allowed to return to school following the pandemic. The teachers also took on additional work to use after school hours to help children catch up to lessons missed. One hour before school opens was utilised to help students facing difficulties.

The Principal along with the teachers put great effort in supporting the students to achieve good results at the examination. A special seminar was also held for the students. Mathematics camps were held with the support of University students and teachers to help students improve in the subjects. The school has ensured that their students pass the examination through these efforts thereby leaving no one behind.

The 32 sports and 11 associations in the school have also developed the talents of the students. The school was able to secure the win at the big match after 11 years in 2022 while it also won the All Island School Volleyball Under 20 Girls Championship and emerged as the runners up in the under 19 DSI sports championship.


The school’s Praveena Heshani was the runners-up of the Karate and Taekwondo national championship while the school also scored many wins in competitions held in the Sabaragamuwa province.

The Past Pupils Association has greatly supported the school in its endeavours and has been tasked with the development of 22 sports and associations in the school under the Pibidemu Gankanda program initiated by the school’s principal.

The mission of Pelmadulla Gankanda College, as put forward in its vision is to produce citizens who are able to adapt to the world while remaining patriotic students and are able to stand up with their own strength and environment-friendly values. The children are being supported by Principal M.Sudheera J.G Fonseka, Deputy Principals K.W.S.M Senaratne, A.M Thilak, Assistant Principals Ramani Gunathilake, Udeni Chandrasiri and the rest of the academic staff.