Ananda College, established November 1, 1885 by the Buddhist Theosophical Society, is one of Sri Lanka's oldest schools. Originally it was known as English Buddist School, describing its stated intention of providing English instruction to Buddhist students who would otherwise have had to a missionary school in order to get an english education. The school opened on a modest scale with 37 students in a private house in Pettah. It was later relocated to Maradana and was named after Arahant Ananda, the most devoted disciple of the Buddha.
A need of the era, in the British colonial period, an English education for the children of majority Buddhists of the country became a reality, when on 1st November, 1886, a daily English school was opened at No: 64, in Maliban Street, Pettah, pioneered by Ven. Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thero and inspired by Col. Henry Steele Olcott, the founder of Buddhist Theosophical Society ( popularly known as BTS ). Starting with a mere student population of 37, it was soon re-located at Paranavadiya in Maradana, where it blossomed into present day pristine glory, accommodating over 6000 students. Re-named " Ananda College ", after Buddha's chief disciple Arahat Ananda, it earned reputation as island's Premier Buddhist Educational Institution for Boys. Ananda College along with many fee-levying Private Schools, came under government's control in 1961. nationalistic, patriotic background is further enhanced by facilities available for Sports activities and co-curricular activities.
Nevertheless, it went from strength to strength offering Primary and Secondary education under Government curriculum. It's glamour as the main centre of attraction for those Buddhists seeking best education in a A school which rose to Nations security when sovereignity of the State was at stake, Ananda is proud of having produced almost all Socialist Leaders of the pre-independence era. Incidentally, Paranavadiya is the point where brave Sinhala forces loyal to the Monarch has ganged –up against invasive Portuguese forces.
Today Ananda College stands to be one of the greatest Buddhist schools in Asia, with a student population exceeding 6,000 in all 13 grades of secondary education on a campus of over 20 acres. The academic staff led by the Principal, Brigadier B.A. Abeyaratne is a little over 200.
Over the years, Ananda has produced notable alumni and thus contributed immensely to Sri Lanka. These include statesman such as the current Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, United National Party deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya, famous cricketers Arjuna Ranatunga and Marvan Atapattu.
One of the most memorable events in the annals of the college was the visit of Asia's first Nobel laureate, Rabindranath Tagore on November 10, 1922, as chief guest at the annual prize giving. He declared on that occasion: "I acknowledge that the life of Ananda is its humility and unassuming nature." One of the greatest men ever born, Mahatma Gandhi visited Ananda in 1927.
Ananda College Old Boys' Association is a body consisting of the past students of Ananda College. It has a membership in excess of 5,000.
Distinguished Old Boys: Dr N.M. Perera , Dr Danushka Thotamuna, Regi Siriwardena, General Hamilton Wanasingha, General Sarath Fonseka, Vice Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda, Phillip Gunawardana, Ana Punchihewa, Upali Dharmadasa, Sir D.B Jayathilaka, Rohitha Bogollagama, Imthiaz Bakir Markar, Thilan Wijesingha, Prof. Nandadasa Kodagoda.
Famous Principals: C. W. Leadbeater (1886-1890), A. E. Buultjens (1890 - 1898), Sir D.B. Jayathilaka (1898-1908), J.T. Davis (1908-1909), M. C. Moore (1910-1913), Fritz Kunz (1914 - 1917), P. de S. Kularatne (1923 - 1932), Dr. G. P. Malalasekera (1932), L. H. Mettananda (1945 - 1953)
Dina dina kitu gosa boovii - Vaejambenu ananda pa maataa
Anandai anandai anande ada anandai
Fritz Kunz Memorial Trophy - This is the school's most prestigious life time achievement award given to the "Most Outstanding Anandian" passing out from the school each year.
Most Outstanding Sportsman (MOS)
Ananda Padma - Presented for outstanding achievement in sports as a student
Ananda Pradeepa - Presented for outstanding academic achievements in GCE(A/L)
The students are divided among four houses:
The houses are named after the four main ancient Sinhala kings of Sri Lanka.An annual Track and Field tournament among these houses is held at the beginning of the first term.