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Sirimavo Bandaranaike Vidyalaya reaches another golden chapter

‘Understanding through action’ (Kriyawen Awabodaya) was destined to be its motto when the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Balika Vidyalaya was established 35 years ago on January 1, 1973 in line with the Government’s vision to promote new education reforms introduced in the ‘70s.

Sports fact file

Basket Ball
2008 All Island champs (under 17 Division A)
1st Runner up (under 19 Division A)

1998 All Island National Sports Champs
(under 19)

Table Tennis
1999 Inter school All Island champs

2002 All island junior champs
2000 National Schools Athletics under 21
2 gold /1 silver
under 15
2 silver/1 bronze
1st runner up (under 19)

2003 interschool all Island 1st place 2007 best player

Throw Ball
2004/5/6/7 All Island
U 19 Champs
U 15 Champs


2004 Milo Trophy U 18 Champs
2007 National Gymnastic Championship 2nd place

The founding principal Wimala Liyanage and the first academic staff

Located in the heart of Colombo at Stanmore Crescent it came into existence as a model primary school with a mere 149 students and a five strong and dedicated group of teachers led by Miss Wimala Liyanage, the founding principal.

Through her leadership the school was off to a flying start and it offered best environment for primary education.

Thanks to the excellent parent-teacher relations, an efficient administration and the concerted dedication of pupil-parent-teacher trio, the school had been elevated to its current standing where it is in par with the other leading girls’ schools in the island, be it education or co-curricular activities.

During the past 35 years the school has produced and been a place of guidance for many a leading women in the country as well in the international arena.

During the first decade the school acquired its junior secondary status increasing classes up to Grade 8. As the number of students multiplied, the need for expanding physical infrastructure was felt by the school authorities.

As a result, a foundation was laid to the ‘Dasa building’, which currently serves as the school’s main hall and construction of the Guruge Hall for the aesthetic department was begun. During the same period the school saw the setting up of a complete laboratory facility and the expansion in the teaching cadre from 5 to 35 showing off its improvement in the scales of quality as well as quantity.

Succeeding the founding principal, Mrs. R. M. L. Jayasekera took office.

Her 17 year service was considered to be one of the most outstanding years of the school. She was seen as a tough administrator but deep underneath she was a very compassionate mother for all her children.

During her tenure the first batch of Sirimavians sat for the GCE Ordinary Level examination in 1984. All the candidates from school obtained exceptional passes at this first national exam. As a direct outcome of this achievement, the Ministry of Education gave permission to establish GCE advanced level classes simultaneously in all four study streams; Maths, Science, Commerce and Arts in 1985.

Around the same time the school received another windfall. The adjoining Stanmore Public Sports ground was donated to Sirimavo with the intervention of the Education Ministry. This turned a new leaf in the development of the school’s sports sector.

In 1993, the work on laboratory-building and the shrine room was completed. By then the school had a total of 2,500 students studying under her guidance. The first team of school prefects were also appointed in 1989.

In 1991, the school reached a milestone. Recognising their excellence it was awarded the status of a National School. A land and a building to provide hostel facilities for distant students selected on merit from national exams, now that it was a national school, were also taken over during the same period. The school’s IT education facilities were also expanded with a new computer learning centre.

GCE AL science girls busy at the physics lab


Swimmers rehearsing a Water Ballet performance for the Pool Complex opening today

Miss.W. P. N. de Silva who had served the school for over 25 years, at the latter part as a Senior Deputy Principal took over the reigns of the school subsequent to Mrs. Jayasekera.

In 2002, the hostel was ceremoniously opened.

With the aim of training future media personalities as well as opening up opportunities in the field of mass media for its students, the ‘sisuvisara’ broadcasting studio was inaugurated at the school premises in 2003.

By this time the school was already maintaining external links with leading media bodies like ‘Rupavahini ‘and many of its students were getting pre-training.

The present Principal of SBBV Pushpa Kalubowila(B.Sc/M.ed) too holds a lengthy service at Sirimavo. Starting off as a Chemistry teacher in 1986, she then rose to become a class teacher, a Section Head, and a Deputy Principal before she returned to the school as the new Principal in 2003 after a brief service elsewhere. Today the school witnesses the fruits of her enthusiasm and dedication.

From 2004 to 2008 the school witnessed rapid development. A double storeyed building for the arts faculty was constructed. The medical centre, school auditorium and the press are a few to mention.

The dream of constructing their own swimming pool was first conceived in 2006. A gifted swimmer Piyumi Ekanayake bagged two silver medals at the 2006 SAF games held in Colombo.

The school organised a ceremony in recognition of her outstanding achievement and also to show off their pride. At the event the medallist recalled the hardships she had to go through during the training due to lack of facilities in the school listening to her anecdote Mrs. Kalubowila felt, it was time the school built her own pool.

With parents’, teachers’ and students’ dedication the dream has become a reality today. A total of Rs.30 million was raised for the construction. Head of Nawaloka Group H. K. Dharmadasa donated the initial Rs.10 million.

The children and parents organised numerous events to raise the balance amount.

Today, a foundation stone will also be laid for a multi-storey building that would house a library among others. A new IT training centre is also in the offing.

Despite the ‘stiff air’ surrounding the school, for its neighbours being military top brass, ministers and Government officials, Sirimavo is one of the most sought after schools by parents. The same reason has also made it a popular choice for children of military personnel. The school pride itself of nurturing the qualities; humbleness, respect for society and elders. Discipline has been a lifelong hallmark. Currently the school has a 155 teaching staff and a 46 member non-academic staff steering a total of 3,035 students on their way to a bright future.

SBBV teachers with current Principal Pushpa Kalubowila

(The writer is a past pupil of the school)



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