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Sujatha Vidyalaya - Pioneer in English education



Mr. Linton Kuruppu

The establishment of a private institution for girls in the field of education plays a very important role in the process of nation building at a time that education was growing in efficiency and importance from colonial days, a person who holds a worthy record for building an institution of his own, for girls, deserves the highest tribute that one could pay. He is none other than late Mr. Linton Kuruppu the founder and architect of present Sujatha Vidyalaya, Nugegoda - the only Sujatha then in Colombo. The 17th death anniversary of this eminent personality fell on 22nd July. Therefore it is fitting that we pay tribute for his mammoth contribution to a worthy cause - one of the urgent social needs of the time. It was mainly due to his painstaking that Sujatha Vidyalaya was able to tread the pathway to success.

History

The story of Sujatha Vidyalaya is the story of this dedicated personality of the post-independence era in Sri Lanka. The foremost Buddhist Girls' School for education in the island then Ceylon - Visaka Vidyalaya, was promoted by Sir Baron Jayatilaka, the most senior statesman of the day and a pioneer Buddhist educationist.

The second person to think of a similar institution using a similar name in Buddhist history was late Linton Kuruppu another Buddhist educationist of a later stage who devoted his entire life to building an institution for girls.

The offer of Principalship of Visaka Vidyalaya, was made by Sir D. B. to Mrs. Clara Motwani, was later followed by late Linton Kuruppu to Sujatha Vidyalaya where both together laid the foundation for progress and witnessed a rapid improvement. He was fortunate to meet Mrs. Motwani when she was planning to leave the island. At this juncture he invited her to be the founder Principal of Sujatha Vidyalaya. Their combination in organising Sujatha was a timely union which provided leadership to the, then revival in education along with the establishment of Sujatha Vidyalaya on a sound footing. Their wealth of experience and attraction to Buddhist philosophy and the Buddhist way of life laid the foundation for the upbringing of the correct Sujathian with perfect discipline and superior performance. The history of Sujatha Vidyalaya begins here.

Pioneering efforts

Sujatha Vidyalaya was founded by Mr. Lynton Kuruppu on 1st June 1965 at No. 17, Alfred Place, Colpetty with only 30 students. Soon the numbers increased and it became necessary to look for new premises and he had the good fortune of leasing out a spacious building down Queen's Road, Colombo. His determination never to have the school in rented out premises made him acquire the present site and constructed the original building single-handed and as a consequence of his far-sighted move the school was inaugurated at Nugegoda. He planned it's expansion and improvement and under his pioneering efforts what was once a vacant stretch of land rose into the next decade with a number of buildings surrounded with greenery.

Remarkable achievement

Since its inception Sujatha V was in Colombo until 1983 when it was shifted to Nugegoda to its own premises with the government initiative to ease the congestion in the city of Colombo and to help the society in the suburbs of Colombo. The way the school was brought under one roof at various stages was a remarkable achievement in his struggle to establish the school on a solid footing. The school functioned efficiently and to the admiration of all it grew from strength to strength and growing number of students started pouring into the school clamouring for admission and the school was packed to capacity, specially due to the high standard of English maintained throughout which continues up to this day, with quality education English Language and literature were given prominence in the curriculum as both late Mr. Kuruppu and Mrs. Motwani considered it to be the main binding of all ethnic groups in the school catering to a multiracial and multi religious society to fulfil the aspirations of all who came to Sujatha V for education.

Fruitful future

The children mostly belonging to the two communities, Sinhala and Muslim were well knitted together as one and his aim was to create a fruitful future for generations to follow. Sujathians have set an example for a better and prosperous tomorrow. Always fully committed towards the well-being of the school he took pleasure in seeing Sujathians do well. For the growing popularity of the college he started the construction of a second three-storeyed building at the entrance to the college and had the ceremonial opening in 1992. The entire College went gay with the opening ceremony with Stanley Thilakaratna the ex-speaker gracing the occasion. He praised the location of the school, the general set-up of the buildings and the landscape. He even compared the buildings to the university buildings at Havana.

The school rejoiced the grand occasion - the finest hour in Sujatha's colourful history during the late Managing Director's time, with a special program resented by the students.

He left no stone unturned to look into every aspect of education and comfort of the students. Not even two months since the emergence of the new building so essential for the smooth running of the school was made possible by the painstaking dedication of the news of the sudden demise of the late Managing Director after attending to his day's work at the college, came as a shock not only to Sujatha Vidyalaya, but to the entire country. He sacrificed his entire life to Sujatha Vidyalaya and bravely championed the students' right to education. Having fulfilled his supreme purpose in life he made a deep impact in the field of education and in today's context in nation building.

Deep appreciation

Today Sujatha has become a landmark as a well established and a well disciplined institution - one that everyone is proud to belong to. They always consider it a privilege and a pleasure to be a Sujathian. Thanks to the vision and foresight of the founders Sujathians past and present therefore place their deep appreciation of his contribution to their lives. His magnanimous service to Sujatha does not end here. He did a greater service by providing a son to continue the work begun by him to carry the school forward into the new era in keeping with modern and developing trends.

True to his wishes, it has become a reality under the present Managing Director - his son, an immense pillar of strength, professionally and foreign qualified educationist of the highest calibre who has taken Sujatha up the ladder further enhancing the service the father has rendered. Sujatha Vidyalaya today stands as a silent monument of the founder continuing the service to the nation begun nearly five decades ago.

 

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