Nalanda College is one of the most popular and well reputed leading Buddhist Schools in Sri Lanka with a history over 80 years.
History of Nalanda
During the British rule in Sri Lanka Buddhist parents were compelled to send their children to missionary schools. Sir Hendry Olcott and Marie Musaeus, who were foriegners to the country, helped Buddhist leaders to fight for their rights and freedom.
Ananda College Established…..
In 1886 Ananda College was established for Buddhist students. Ananda College attracted students from every part of the Island and in 1923 it’s infrastructure couldn’t cope with the demand.
Birth of Nalanda
Principle of Ananda College Mr. P De S Kularathne leased the land next to Ananda College’s Campbell Street playground and moved some junior classes of Ananda. These classrooms were simply mud huts. Mr. E W Perera who was appointed as the administrator of the new section of Ananda College did an excellent job in maintaining student’s discipline and cleanliness. Due to Mr. E W Perera’s hard work Mr Robinson, then Director of Education, readily approved this new institution.
For 55,000 rupees Mr Kularathne bought further 4 acres. In 1922 Mr Gregory Thompson, the then Governor of Ceylon, laid the foundation stone for a new building with 16 rooms in the newly bought land. Classrooms were kept under the authority of Mr L. H. Meththananda and Mr. E. W Perera was appointed as the head master. The Ven. Balangoda Ananda Maithriya became the first Dharamarcharya.
On the 1 st of November 1925 Mr. Kularathne registered this new section of Ananda College as a separate college and named as NALANDA.. Mr. L. H. Meththananda became the first principle of Nalanda College. The name NALANDA and motto ‘Apadana Sobhini Panna’ meaning ‘wisdom beautifies character’ was given by Ven. Balangoda Ananda Maithriya.
Prof.G. P. Malalasekara, an intellectual gaint, was appointed as the principal of Nalanda on 1 st January 1926.
Mr. Kularathne laid down another foundation stone for another building on the 30 th March 1926.
Anagarika Dharmapala lent money to Mr.Kularathne to build the Nalanda primary school. He was later repaid by Mr. Malalasekera.