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Taking women’s education to a new dimension

Southlands College - 125 golden years of academic excellence during the past decade:

Southlands College, situated within the surroundings of the World Heritage Zone, could be a legend in the history of education in the Southern Province as well as in the island with her great achievements throughout a long period of 125 years. The school will be commemorating her 125th birthday in few months time. This is a glance at her achievements

Southlands College is one of the premier girls schools in the Southern Sri Lanka originated by the Methodist Mission in 1885 as an English medium educational institution which had served as a multi-religious, multi-cultural society 125 years ago.

The missionary management concluded in 1956 and the school was vested in the Government in 1962. Even though the school functioned as a senior secondary school and no facilities for higher education was available during the missionary period, the Principals helped many a student continue their higher studies away from school since they had liberal ideas on women’s education. Thus with the foundation given at Southlands, the school had produced distinguished and renowned personalities to the nation as pioneers of various professional fields of expertise.

Government takes over

After the school was vested in the Government, Rupa Nanayakkara assumed duties as the first Principal, and many changes were effected following State requirements. She developed the school in many avenues during a period of 10 years. Nanayakkara developed the Advanced Level Arts stream that had been introduced earlier to the school curriculum, and started the Advanced Level Science stream to encourage the students to continue their higher studies at Southlands itself. Accordingly, many students entered the Medical College and the science faculties, and some of them are serving as specialists today.

Southlands College, Galle

Southlands became a popular school in the Southern Sri Lanka due to continuous academic achievements throughout a long period and was upgraded to an ‘A’ grade school in 1977, and further promoted to one of the 18 National schools in 1984 during Mrs. Daniel’s period. Remarkable progress was shown in the academic field as well as in many extra curricular activities during the very fruitful period of 17 years when Mrs. Daniel was Principal. Children participated in district and island-wide academic competitions and extra curricular activities in many fields alike bringing credit to the school winning gold, silver and bronze medals many times. Southlands also became the best school in the Southern Province gaining highest marks in the Advanced Level Science Stream. Mrs. Daniel introduced Fine Arts and Commerce as subjects to the Advanced Level examination and many students had the opportunity to enter Universities in both streams. The school was able to maintain the high standard of examination results in all streams continuously.

Academic excellence

Leelakanthi Gunawardena was the Principal from 1999 - 2005, and several instances of academic excellence were recorded during her period. Southlands College proudly itemize some of the academic achievements by Southlanders in Government examinations continuously, which brought honour to the school during this era. One student won the first place in the Advanced Level examination in Commerce stream in 1999 and this record was maintained when another student gained the first place in the same examination in the Arts stream in 2000. Such performance of academic excellence seem to be pursued by emerging generations when we proudly record the second and third places at the Ordinary Level examination by Southlanders in 2003. Another Southlander was able to secure the third place in the Advanced Level stream again, in 2005.

Three other Southlanders displayed their colours to keep the school flag flying high when they were able to secure third, fourth and seventh place at the Ordinary Level Examination in 2009 bringing honour to their Alma Mater when she is proudly celebrating her 125th anniversary in July 2010. Besides gaining the highest marks in the island, many students were able to be among the highest mark achievers in all streams in the Southern Province as well as in the Island throughout the years.

The Young Entrepreneur program was introduced to a few schools as a pilot project in 1998 by the Education Ministry with the collaboration of Junior Achievement International USA Southlanders participated in it as a pioneer company and it became a popular society in the College. They won nine awards at the ‘Young Entrepreneur Sri Lanka Presidential awards’ in 1999 being the best company in several categories and was chosen as the best school winning the highest number of awards at the competition.

The Astronomical Society established in 1999 became popular in the College.

Students of the science stream, too, won numerous awards during this period. Within the scope of National Educational reforms for the Advanced Level, they became the winner of the Environment Award in the School Category for their project ‘Recycling Program Relevant to Advanced Level Student’s Projects’ at the 59th Annual sessions of SLAAS in December 2003 and the SLAAS Environment Award for the second time in 2007 for their project’. Low cost environmental friendly method of removing oil from the surface of the sea’.

More achievements

The same group of students, guided by their teacher S. Surasena, participated in the ‘Sri Lanka Science and Engineering Fare 2008’ jointly organized by the NSF, IESL, INTEL Sri Lanka and the Education Department, and was selected the best group for their oil separation project. Accordingly, the group of students along with their teacher were fortunate to represent Sri Lanka at the ‘INTEL Inter National Science and Engineering Fare 2009’ held in Reno, Nevada USA.

Two Southlanders won the All Island ‘National Australian Chemistry Quiz Competition’ in 2003 gaining the highest marks. They were among the students who gave the correct answers to all the questions at the competition. Five Southlanders became the winners in the same competition in 2004 again answering all the questions correct for the second time too.

One student became the National Chess champion at the age of 15 when she was crowned the youngest player to win the women’s title in Sri Lanka in 2004. During this decade, many students represented the country in several countries in net ball, table tennis, hockey, chess and guiding. Another Southlander was chosen to represent the island at the World Festival for Children in 2000 in Korea.



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