During 1968-1970, a visionary Sri Lankan woman named Wimala Liyanage, who was pursuing her education at Cambridge University in England, conceived a remarkable idea. Her vision was to establish a model girls’ school in the capital city of her homeland.
Upon returning to Sri Lanka following the completion of her education, Liyanage courageously realised her vision despite numerous challenges. She founded a school named Stanmore Crescent Primary School on January 1, 1973. This dream school was a memorable birthday present to herself, as her birthday coincided with the school’s founding date of January 1.
Wimala Liyanage served as the first principal of the school, and a dedicated teaching staff of five members educated the first cohort of 183 female students spanning from the first grade to the fifth grade.
In December 1973, the school was renamed Sirimavo Bandaranaike Primary Girls’ College in honour of the then Prime Minister, the world’s first woman Prime Minister. Since then, the school has achieved numerous milestones and has evolved into one of the premier girls’ schools in the city. However, it is located in a very serene part of the city, away from the hustle and bustle.
In January 2023, the school marked its fiftieth anniversary with the blessings of its founder and first headmistress, Wimala Liyanage, who has now reached the age of ninety-five.
Sirimavo Bandaranaike Vidyalaya, commemorating its Golden Jubilee and experiencing significant advancements in both infrastructure and academic quality in a relatively short span, has achieved numerous milestones in education, sports, extracurricular activities, and various other domains.
Sirimavo, renowned for its consistent excellence in national-level examinations, achieved a historic feat in 2022 by producing the top performer Kavindini Tharushika in the commerce stream at the national level, marking a first in its illustrious history.
Among the Sirimavo students who sat the 2022 A-level examination, an outstanding 97 percent achieved passing grades in the commerce section, while the pass rates in the arts and science sections were 88 percent and 70 percent.
Presently, the school accommodates 3,400 female students, supported by a dedicated teaching staff of 159 members and an additional 35 non-academic staff.
The administrative helm of Sirimavo Bandaranaike Vidyalaya, guided by its motto “to shape a quality society through quality education”, is led by Dr J. Sumedha Jayaweera. She holds the distinction of being the only principal in Sri Lanka with a doctoral degree.
Dr. Jayaweera carries the significant responsibility of charting a bright future for Sirimavo Bandaranaike Vidyalaya through a comprehensive five-year plan. By the end of the initial three years, her aim is to transition the entire Vidyalaya to solar energy and transform all classrooms into smart classrooms. Additionally, she underscores her foremost responsibility of nurturing young women who are not only wise but also virtuous contributors to the nation.
Sirimavo Bandaranaike Vidyalaya offers a diverse range of 20 sports to facilitate the development of well-rounded and confident individuals. It boasts an impressive array of 50 societies dedicated to cultivating leadership qualities, nurturing empathy and teamwork, and offering opportunities for engaging in extracurricular activities.
The principal firmly believes that by spreading love, fairness, and equal acceptance to every child, their prospects for the future can be enhanced. To realise this vision, the school has initiated a teacher development program, specifically designed to empower its teaching staff.
The inaugural session of this program was conducted on September 9, underscoring the school’s commitment to fostering a nurturing and empowering educational environment.
With an impressive array of physical resources that includes a library, laboratories, indoor sports complex, swimming pool, canteen, and more, the girls of Sirimavo now require a state-of-the-art auditorium capable of accommodating a larger audience that can also be given for outside functions.
The Past Pupils’ Association (PPA), which played a pivotal role in establishing the college hostel, is currently gathering financial support to initiate the construction of the auditorium once a suitable plot of land is secured.
In the realm of education and sports alike, Sirimavo Bandaranaike Vidyalaya has achieved numerous all-island victories in 2023. These triumphs span across a wide range of disciplines, including athletics, badminton, gymnastics, throwball, swimming, diving, target shooting, table tennis, hockey, chess, and squash events, showcasing the school’s exceptional prowess and dedication to excellence in the sports arena.
To commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the college, the PPA has planned a series of events throughout 2023. Among these activities, they are extending an invitation to Sirimavians from all around the world to participate in a concert scheduled for November 4, 2023 at the BMICH.
The principal conveyed a message to all young girls emphasising that possessing education, character, and good qualities empowers them to overcome any challenge.
She underscored the importance of patiently treading the right path rather than resorting to shortcuts, as it ultimately leads to victory in education and every other field.
(Translated by Maneshka Borham)