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Nita Kumari Pilapitiya Principal Musaeus College (1995-2008)

Nita Kumari Pilapitiya who has served Musaeus College as Principal for period of 14 years will be retiring on December 31. She is the 14th distinguished Principal of this August institution, since its inception under our pioneer Principal Marie Musaeus Higgins. I am happy to say Mrs. Pilapitiya is the most senior principal who is still in the field of education in Sri Lanka as she has already completed 50 years of service in the profession of teaching.

Hailing from a respectable Kandyan family she was born in Ukuwela near Matale. Nita Kumari Pilapitiya (nee Tennakoon) had her primary education at St. Agnes Convent, Matale. She passed her S.S.C. in the 1st division at the very young age of 15 years. Thereafter the Matriculation Examination, she joined Musaeus College for higher studies. She had a brilliant school career which ended with her entry to the University.


Nita Kumari Pilapitiya

Hailing from a respectable Kandyan family she was born in Ukuwela near Matale. Nita Kumari Pilapitiya (nee Tennakoon) had her primary education at St. Agnes Convent, Matale. She passed her S.S.C. in the 1st division at the very young age of 15 years. Thereafter the Matriculation Examination, she joined Musaeus College for higher studies. She had a brilliant school career which ended with her entry to the University.

She was in the first batch of University students to go into residence at Peradeniya in 1952. Her distinguished University and school career brought much credit to her school as she passed out with an Honours Degree in Geography. She also has an International Diploma from the National Institute of Education Planning and Administration in New Delhi. As she was brought up strictly according to Kandyan customs and tradition, her father had insisted that she join the noble profession of teaching, which she started at the age of 23.

Her first appointment was to a boys school St. Anthony's College, Kandy. After that she served in a number of schools such as Warala Maha Vidyalaya, BMS-Matale (presently Sanghamitta College) and Kalutara Balika Vidyalaya, etc. Her first appointment as principal was to St. Anthony's Girls School - Katugastota for 8 years.

Then she joined the prestigious hill country school - Mahamaya College, Kandy as principal where she maintained a good record. During her period, as principal Mahamaya reached the peak both in academic and extra curricular activities. Satisfied by her great service to this institution, the Ministry of Education appointed her as Additional Provincial Director of Education, Kandy and later as the Director of Education, Central Province which position she held until her retirement from Government service.

In 1995 January she took up the post of principal in this great institution Musaeus College. As a past pupil of Musaeus College I consider it a unique privilege to have served as her Secretary under her tutelage. In thought, deed and word, attitude, manner and demeanour, she was indeed ideally equipped to function as principal of a Sinhala Buddhist Girls school. It is also a great opportunity to serve as principal of ones very own 'Alma Mater' - a rare privilege and honour.

Mrs. Pilapitiya occupied the college principal's bungalow within the school premises. Hence early every morning we see this stately figure, clad in a Kandyan saree wearing a matching coloured bead necklace, carrying her hand bag in her right hand walking into the school office.

During her tenure of office as principal, Musaeus College she brought the school to unprecedented heights in practically all spheres of school life. Mrs Pilapitiya gave admirable direction to nearly 6,200 students and 340 teachers. She justified the trust reposed in her by setting by example to all of us at Musaeus College. She raised the status of the school, maintaining a very high standard of discipline in the school. She did her best to impart the Buddhist way of life to her students.

She had the qualities of a good principal. She was punctual; respected in and out of school. Her students are acclaimed as well conducted people. We count among our past students a number of professionals, doctors, lawyers, accountants. Besides the encouragement and support our students received from her in the academic stream, she instilled a sense of propriety and decorum in them which distinguished our students from others.

The school functions Sports Meet, Alms Giving, Prize Giving and Sports Award ceremony were carried to an excellent conclusion under her inspired guidance. Being a mother herself she always looked into the total protection of her students.

In the evening, however late, she walks in to the College Hostel to see the welfare of the hostellers and to discuss with them about their needs.

Her well founded and just administration extends to the extra curricular activities of this educational institution. We see today, Musaeus College at the very helm of education and educational programmes in this country.

She maintained a very cordial relationship with the Musaeus College Past Pupils Association. Being the President and a Past Pupil of the MCPPA she was a tower of strength to the Association. She always went out of her way to help the old Past Pupils and those who needed help. All the activities of the Association went smoothly under her supervision.

Although being a mother of two sons and two daughters and a grandmother of nine grandchildren she always had time to devote her services to her students all over. Her grateful students from various fields who are in top places in Sri Lanka and abroad, still make warm inquiries and visit her often.

Having worked closely with her for as long as she was principal of Musaeus College, I believe I can attest to her integrity and forthright manner. Her intentions were always honest, her actions were ever seen from the point of view of her students, staff and College. Her judgement was always fair.

Dear Madam, your retirement is indeed a sad event for Musaeus. When I look back on the years I spent working with you I recall with grateful thanks the lessons you tought me, the example you set. I learnt many lessons from you, to accept challenge with a smile. As you leave us at the end of the year leaving behind all your students, I wish you a happy retirement away from stress and strain, a life of perfect peace, filled with good health.

I say farewell, my greatly loved teacher. Thank you for all you have done so well. We will never ever forget you!

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