By Siva Sivapragasam
Royal College, one of Sri Lanka’s premier and prestigious educational institutions, held a ceremony very recently to felicitate its old boys now serving the country as Prime Minister, Ministers and Members of Parliament.
Prime Minister and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and UNP Deputy Leader and Housing Minister Sajith Premadasa were among those who were honoured. Among others who were felicitated were Ravi Karunanayake (Finance Minister) D.M. Swaminathan (Resettlement, Rehabilitation & Hindu Affairs Minister), Rauff Hakeem (Urban Development,Water Supply and Drainage Minister ), Gayantha Karunathilake (Media Minister), Lakshman Kiriella (Plantation Industries Minister) and Dr. Harsha de Silva (Deputy Minister-Policy Planning & Economic Development)
Royal College is considered to be the leading public school in Sri Lanka and is often referred to as the Eton of Sri Lanka. The school was founded in the British Public School tradition having being named as the Royal College Colombo. It was one of the first schools to be designated as a national school by the Sri Lankan Government in the 1980s. As a national school it is funded by the government as opposed to the provincial council providing both primary and secondary education. The school was selected as “one of best innovative colleges” in the world by Microsoft in 2009.
The school has produced many distinguished alumni among whom are presidents of two countries (Sri Lanka & Maldives),and three prime ministers. (Sir John Kotelawala, J.R. Jayawardene & Ranil Wickremesinghe)
Many of the prominent leaders of the independence movement in the early twentieth century including Anagarika Dharmapala, E.W. Perera, Sir James Pieris, Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam, Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan, and C.A. Hewavitharane were educated at Royal College, then known as the Colombo Academy. The present Chief Minister of the Northern Province in Sri Lanka Mr.CV. Wigneswaran is also an old boy of Royal College.