Centenary Celebrations of Ambalangoda Dharmasoka:
Olcott’s mission POSSIBLE
Centenary Commemorative Years of Dharmasoka College began in 2012 and
ends in 2013.In order to facilitate the Celebrations of Dharmasoka
College Centenary an Action Plan had also been launched with the
participation of Main Old Boys Association, Past Pupils Association,
Colombo Branch and the Junior Old Boys Association. A Trust Fund of Rs.
1,000,002 was formed for the development of every facet of the college.
The objectives of the fund are to promote the standards of Primary
and Secondary Education, assist the students of low income families,
providing scholarships, grants and loans, development of skills of
sports, development and rehabilitation of the infrastructure of the
college and the improvement of the library facilities.
Commemorative events include the publication of the History of the
College, establishment of a Website, Religious Programmes, Cultural
events, Social Welfare events such as Blood Donation Campaigns, Medical
Camps, Open Career Advisory Exhibition, Educational and Centennial
In addition, a Commemorative Stamp will also be issued to mark the
Centenary year of the college.
Historical annals on the Education in Sri Lanka reveal, that during
the colonial era there were more than 800 Christian Schools while there
were only three Buddhist Schools in Sri Lanka then known as Ceylon. The
serious undermining and discriminatory attitudes of the British colonial
administrators on the Buddhist Education coincided with the arrival of
Colonel Henry Steel Olcott in the island at Galle harbour accompanied by
Madame Helena P Blavatsky on May 17, 1880.
Colonel Henry Steel Olcott ventured in an undaunted manner in the
revival of Buddhism, Buddhist Culture and Buddhist Education in the
country along with a team of renown national leaders comprised of both
Buddhist clergy and laity in the calibre of Ven. Migettuwatte Gunanada
Thera , Ven. Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangla Thera, Anagarika Dharmapala and
several prominent figures of the country.
Colonel Henry Steel Olcott took the initiative to revive Buddhist
education in the country by starting a series of Buddhist Institutions
of Education in the leading cities of the country such as Ananda College
in Colombo, Mahinda College in Galle, Dharmapala College in Kandy and
Maliyadeva College in Kurunegala .
As a direct result of the pioneering efforts of Colonel Henry Steel
Olcott , by the year 1898 there were 103 schools in the country managed
by the Buddhist Theosophical Society (BTS) which was founded by Colonel
Steel Olcott .
A humble beginning
Dharmasoka College in Ambalangoda came into existence with humble
beginnings in an era of transition when the civil society leaders had
been inspired by the work on the revival of Buddhist education in the
country under the leadership of Colonel Olcott and his Sri Lankan
During the colonial administration there were two Institutions of
Education at Ambalangoda. One was located in the precincts of the
Randombe Church known as " Wesley College," and in addition there was
another school known as " The Buddhist English School " in the middle of
In 1894 the Buddhist English School was handed over to the BTS.
The administrators of the Buddhist English School had already
commenced the construction of yet another school building in a cemetery
belonged to Liyanage Walawwa at Ambalangoda but the completion of the
building was held up half way due to lack of funds.
A retired government servant and a philanthropist called Mudliar
Santiago Thomas de Silva of Ambalangoda who was inspired by the rapid
transition taking place in the country on the revival of Buddhist
Education spent his own money to complete the school building.
Before the completion of the school building , Mudliar Thomas de
Silva had started an Educational Institution at the Station Road ,
Ambalangoda town with 15 students.
A case filed
In the year 1913 there was a case filed against the construction of
the school building in the cemetery but the case was won by the Mudliar.
In 1914 both schools started by Mudliar Thomas de Silva were joined
together as one School and registered as Dharmasoka College which later
developed as one of the leading Institutions of Education in the
The founder of Dharmasoka College, Mudlier Thomas de Silva became
both its first Principal and the Manager while N B Wimalsuriya became
the first Head Master .
Mudlier Thomas de Silva passed away on April 10, 1929 just after
serving 25 years as the principal and since then Dharmasoka College was
managed by the " Sugatha Sasanodaya Sangamaya" under administrative
officials of late P de S Kularatne, Dr. M H Saddasena and L C de Silva
all of them happened to be parliamentarians who represented Ambalangoda
In 1961 Dharmasoka College was taken over by the government .
A premier institution
Dharmasoka College, Ambalangoda is considered as one of the premier
Institutions of Education of excellence in the Southern Province. Since
its inception in 1913 Dharmasoka College has produced innumerable number
of Intellectuals of highest calibre, erudite Scholars and Professionals
who excelled in every sphere and enjoyed prestigious positions both in
Sri Lanka and abroad. Former Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture
University of Sabaragamuwa, Professor Upali S Jayasekara, School of
Computing - University of Colombo, Professor Nihal Kodikara, Senior
Lecturer -University of Colombo, Dr. Kasun de Zoysa , Dept. of Clinical
Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Professor Senaka
Rajapaksa are some of the professionals of excellence produced by
Dharmasoka College who excelled in their respective fields.
In tune with the motto of Dharmasoka College , "Vidya Dadani Vinayan"
just like its pioneers of the past , the previous principals and the
present Principal G O P Panditharathna, both present and past members of
the tutorial staff and the student community of the college strived hard
to make vast strides in every sphere , both academic and extra
curricular activities while maintaining the highest standards of
Since the founder Principal Mudlier S Thomas de Silva from 1913 up to
the present Principal Panditharatna , more than 20 Principals had
rendered their service with selfless dedication and hardwork to bring
Dharmasoka College from its humble origins in 1913 to be one of the
highest Institutions of Education in the country on diverse spheres of
academic , sports and aesthetics.
Past records and credits
Mudlier S Thomas de Silva (1913-1917), E Ginige (1917-1921), J R
Natheniyals ( 1921 - 1923), G M de Silva (1923-1927), E A Wijesooriya(
1928-1933), F R Jayasooriya(1934-1938), D G Wijerathna ( 1938-1947 and
1953 - 1961 ) P de S Jasenthuliyana (1947-1953), K K V S de Silva (
1961-1965), M D Wimalasooriya (1965-1975), E N Fernando ( 1975-1980), G
W W de Silva ( 1980-1982), B H H Wimaladasa ( 1982- 1984), H S N K
Fernando (1984-1986), A G I de Silva (1987-1998), M Premaseela de Silva
( 199-2001), D M G A Jayalath (2002-2004), K M G B Jayasooriya
(2004-2006) S J P Wijesinghe (2006-2010) had served Dharmasoka College
as its Principals.
It had also produced 16 Parliamentarians, more than 20 Medical and
nine Legal luminaries, several Administrative Service Officials, one
Inspector General of Police (IGP), one Army Commander, Artists and
several National Cricketers who had brought credit to the country.
At the inception Dharmasoka Collge was meant only for boys. English,
Latin, Geometry, Algebra, Geography, Pali and Sanskrit were the subjects
taught. Classes for Advanced Level in the stream of Arts were introduced
in 1943. In the year 1957, Advanced Level Science stream was also
introduced. Jayatissa Bandara was the first student to enter the
University in 1958. S M Banduseela got through in Bio Science and
entered the University while Palitha Kumarasinghe was the first to enter
the Medical Faculty from Dharmasoka College.
In the arena of Sports of Badminton, Cricket, Table Tennis and
Swimming, Dharmasoka College rarely has been defeated and always tried
to maintain its prestigious position.
Over the years several students have represented Dharmasoka College
in International Sports Events. In 1998 Swimming was introduced and
since then the Sports Council of Dharmasoka College has successfully
conducted " Two Mile Sea Swim " competition continuously with the
participation of more than 600 contestants every year, representing
numerous schools, Forces and Sport Clubs of the country.
According to the present Principal of Dharmasoka College, student
population is around 5000 and the Tutorial Staff is comprised of 190
teachers and 34 are on the non-academic staff.
According to the GCE(A/L) results issued recently 130 students are
qualified to enter Universities and out of that 17 are qualified to
enter Engineering and 10 to the Medical Faculties. In the history of
Dharmasoka College 24 students in the Commerce stream have prospects of
entering the Universities.