Gothami Balika Vidyalaya | Sunday Observer

Gothami Balika Vidyalaya

30 July, 2023
The students who scored top results in the 2021 O/L exams
The students who scored top results in the 2021 O/L exams

Established on June 17, 1946 under the visionary leadership of Dr C. W. W. Kannangara, the “Pioneer of Free Education,” the Gothami Balika Vidyalaya was originally known as the ‘Government English School.’

In 1946, the school commenced under the guidance of its principal, Gladys Perera, along with three teachers and just 15 students.

In 1956, it was renamed English Girls’ College, and later, it became known as Gothami Balika Vidyalaya. Having grown into a renowned girls’ school in the capital city close to other major colleges such as Ananda College and Nalanda College, Gothami Balika Vidyalaya proudly celebrated its 75th birth anniversary in 2021 in the midst of the pandemic through mostly virtual events.

Today the school which educates 3,200 students with a staff of 123 teachers is headed by its Principal D.A Subashini Dematagoda. The Gothamians, guided by their motto “Wisdom Shines in the World,” display exceptional talent in national level examinations as they pursue their studies from Grade 6 to grade 13, with instructions offered in both Sinhala and English mediums.

In the 2022 G.C.E. Ordinary Level (OL) examination, Gothamians achieved outstanding results, with 98 percent of the 360 students who appeared for the exam qualifying for higher education. The remarkable achievements include 76 students obtaining 9 A passes, 36 students achieving 8 A passes, and another 36 students securing 7 A passes. Most subjects recorded very high pass percentages. Specifically, in Buddhism and Sinhala, the pass percentage was an impressive 99 percent.

In Mathematics (Sinhala medium), the pass rate reached 93 percent, while in Mathematics (English medium), it was a perfect 100 percent, a very rare achievement for any school.

Great pride

Principal Subhashini Dematagoda

Additionally, the pass percentage in English and Science (English medium) was an impressive 97 percent. The school takes great pride in the exceptional academic accomplishments of its students in the 2022 O/L examination. Out of the 531 students who sat the 2021 Advanced Level (AL) examination in Sinhala and English mediums under Arts, Commerce, Science and Technology sections, 371 qualified for State University admission, and the pass percentage was a commendable 69.86 percent.

The commitment demonstrated by the Principal and the teaching staff of the school was of utmost importance in providing valuable learning opportunities to students during 2019, 2020, and 2021 (the latter two being pandemic years), ultimately contributing to the exceptional achievements mentioned earlier. The collaborative efforts of the principal, along with the then deputy principal, Gayani Matararachchi, and the assistant principal, Nishanthi Gamage, as well as teacher Lasanthi Mutukuda, were commendable and played a significant role in ensuring the success of the students. Their dedication and guidance greatly contributed to the student’s academic progress and accomplishments during those three years.

During the specified Covid-19 pandemic, a special schedule was implemented for online learning, running five days a week for students in Grades 6 to 13 at the school. Apart from regular teaching, an additional two hours of daily revision programs were conducted specifically for Advanced Level (AL) students. These sessions were designed to identify the student’s strengths and weaknesses under a simplified SWOT system, and they were categorised into three different score levels.

Individual needs

With the aid of specially crafted question papers tailored to each level, the teaching approach was customised to address individual needs and talents, ensuring a comprehensive and effective learning experience in a virtual environment. Besides online teaching, the school also conducted online tests to assess students’ potential and keep them informed with knowledge updates.

Alongside the learning programs, the school organised grade-level literary associations to foster the girls’ interest in literature, art and performing arts. A notable event was the special celebration of the school’s 75th anniversary in 2021, titled ‘Gothami Vajra Prabha,’ which saw the enthusiastic online participation of Gothamians from various graduating classes over the past decades. Many Gothamians living broad also attended these events virtually as it was not possible to come to Sri Lanka during that period.

During the celebration of the 75th anniversary, the school provided a platform to showcase the students’ writing skills by launching a digital magazine named Saradakasha in Sinhala and ‘Splendour’ in English. Additionally, various events such as the Vesak Festival, Poson Festival and Environment Day (June 5) celebration were conducted online, offering opportunities for the students to hone their diverse skills in different areas from their own homes.

Subhashini Dematagoda assumed the position of Principal on January 21, 2016. In 2018, the school took a significant step by introducing a 13-year continuous vocational training section, providing valuable opportunities for school leavers to receive effective training and prepare themselves for a successful future in the professional world instead of being limited to theoretical knowledge.

This is especially useful for any students who may not have passed well in academic subjects.

Gothami Balika Vidyalaya aims to offer an appealing learning experience by implementing smart boards in classrooms (Suhuru Panthi), adopting the concept of a smart school. The school’s technical department has already installed smart boards, and the school has also introduced Chinese language courses for Grades 6 to 11, preparing the students for the future with international language skills as Mandarin has become a must-learn language. Several other language courses are also available. Tamil is also taught to all the students.

Creditable achievement

It achieved first place in the nationwide 2019 Best Annual Report and Financial Statement (ARFS) competition organised by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Association of Accounting Technicians of Sri Lanka (AAT).

This is a creditable achievement. The school boasts an impressive array of 15 sports and 35 co-curricular activity associations, providing students with diverse opportunities for personal growth and development.

Principal Subashini Dematagoda expressed her heartfelt gratitude for the unwavering support received from all members, including the Secretary of the Alumni Association, the Executive Committee, and the School Development Society (SDS).

Their positive support has played a crucial role in the development and progress of the college, and their dedication has been instrumental in creating a nurturing and thriving educational environment.