A mission of excellence for the 21st century | Sunday Observer
Mahanama College:

A mission of excellence for the 21st century

16 July, 2023
The school Principal and academic staff of junior section
The school Principal and academic staff of junior section

Mahanama College, a leading Buddhist boy’s school in Sri Lanka in the heart of Colombo (Kollupitiya) opened its doors in 1956. It was founded by the late Chief Incumbent of the Walukarama Temple in Kollupitiya, Ven. Mawiththara Rewatha Thera.

The school which commenced as a junior school on January 5, 1956 had 87 students at its inception. Its first principal was Ven. Wegolle Dhammananda Thera. Since its transformation into a Maha Vidyalaya in 1976, the school has undergone significant development.

Today the school has over 4,200 students and has classes from Grades 1 - 13. Its panel of teachers includes 164 trained education professionals and 39 administrative staffers. Its current Principal is a highly experienced educationist, Prabath Vithanage.

Among its many achievements over the years, the 2021/2022 Ordinary Level examination results can be described as a resounding success.


Out of the 362 students who sat for the examination, an impressive 99 percent or 357 students successfully qualified for higher education. Among the successful candidates, there were 79 students who achieved A 9 passes, 53 students with A 8 passes, and 25 students with A 7 passes. This remarkable achievement highlights the dedication of the teachers and the academic excellence displayed by the students.

The results further reveal a remarkably high pass percentage in various subjects, with Sinhala and History leading the way at an impressive 99 percent. English and Science followed closely with a pass percentage of 98 percent, while Buddhism and Mathematics achieved a pass percentage of 97 percent. These outstanding results can be attributed to the measures prioritising the educational development and progress of the students.

Principal Vithanage said the teachers and then Principal A.M.A.A.C. Perera who implemented the online teaching program during the Covid-19 pandemic must be commended for their efforts.

Since his appointment, Vithanage has also implemented many new programs to build a school with a modern vision by 2025. He is supported in his efforts by Deputy Principals Nishani Alwis, Sandamali Bandara and Gamini Samarakoon along with Assistant Principals Sumith Chandrasiri, K.K Ratnayake and Lasanthi Muthukuda.

The unwavering support of the teaching staff, parents, alumni committee, and School Development Committee (SDC) has been instrumental in driving every action taken to enhance the students and the school’s overall improvement.

The school offers all four streams—Science, Mathematics, Commerce, Arts, and Technology—for GCE Advanced Level (A/L) education, providing students with diverse educational pathways. In addition, the school prioritises the development of NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) level skills, imparting professional knowledge to students through the 13-year continuous education guarantee program.


To facilitate this, the school organises group practical learning opportunities under the guidance of professional experts. These initiatives aim to achieve new objectives in educational reform and equip students with valuable practical skills for their future endeavours.

As part of its commitment to enhancing student performance, the school conducts monthly assessments on the last Friday of every month. Additionally, a notable aspect of the school’s approach is the daily monitoring of all students’ studies by members of the management committee. This diligent oversight, performed twice a day, ensures that students’ academic endeavours receive consistent attention and support from the school’s management team.

The school offers an impressive range of 18 sports, including Cricket, Basketball, Boxing, Rugby, Swimming, Badminton, Air Rifle, Squash, Table Tennis, and more.

These sports are actively pursued with the guidance of 26 dedicated sports coaches. By providing such extensive sporting opportunities, the school aims to cultivate a future generation that embodies not only knowledge and skills but also possesses commendable character traits and a well-rounded personality.

Mahanama College continues to showcase its sporting prowess with four of its students selected to represent the 2023/24 Under-19 National Cricket Squad. Additionally, the school’s boxing program has seen remarkable success, with the sons of Mahanama securing numerous victories in national tournaments, earning a remarkable tally of 21 gold medals, 13 silver medals, and 24 bronze medals. Notably, several students from Mahanama College have been prominent members of the National Rugby Team since 2012, contributing to the team’s string of victories.

A medical centre consisting of a doctor has also been established in the college for the students and teaching staff. This is rare even in schools that have more facilities than Mahanama.

New vision

In pursuit of a new vision for the year 2025, Mahanama College is undertaking transformative measures. As part of this initiative, Smartboards will be installed in all classrooms to embrace the Smart School (Suhuru Panthi) concept, fostering innovative and interactive learning experiences.

The school aims to introduce a comprehensive information system encompassing school management, learning management, content management, and student information management. The school will emphasise STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in line with future trends in the job market.

In 2003, Mahanama College initiated English medium classes, marking a significant milestone in the school’s academic offerings. Presently, an English Performance Force is actively engaged in enhancing students’ English-speaking and writing abilities within the school. Moreover, the school is planning to introduce new reforms to enhance the student leader (Prefects) structure, fostering the development of leadership skills among students.

Mahanama College boasts an impressive array of 34 Associations dedicated to co-curricular activities. Among these, several Associations have shown exceptional levels of engagement and activity. The Commerce Association focuses on promoting business and commerce-related skills among students, while the Inventions Association encourages innovation and creativity.


The Speech and Debate Association hones students’ public speaking and critical thinking abilities, while the Red Cross and Traffic Control associations focus on community service and safety. The school also engages in many meritorious and religious activities under the guidance of the Maha Sangha. The school sessions begin with the recital of Pansil (Five Precepts).

Mahanama College has established a special education unit dedicated to providing support and education for children with special needs. Within this unit, Mahanama students are nurtured with the noble virtue of treating everyone equally and with compassion, embracing diversity and respecting any differences. Mahanama is ready to embrace further developments in the education sphere.

Pix by Nissanka Wijeratne