Kingswood College (Sri Lanka)

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Kingswood College Kandy
කිංග්ස්වුඩ් විද්‍යාලය මහනුවර
Kck log.jpg
FIDE ET VIRTUTE
Location
Kandy
Sri Lanka
Information
Type National
Established 4th of May, 1891
Principal P. G. S. Bandara
Grades Class 1–13
Gender Boys
Age 6 to 18
Color(s) Maroon ‹See Tfm›     and Royal Blue ‹See Tfm›    
Website

Kingswood College is a school which offers primary and secondary education. It was started on Pavilion Street in Kandy, Sri Lanka with 11 students. Later the school was moved to a site on Peradeniya Road. Since then, the school has grown up to 3500 students and 200 faculty. The school was founded by L. E. Blaze on May 4, 1891. It is one of the oldest schools in Kandy which is well known for its both academic and athletic achievements. The school is abbreviated as KCK.

History[edit]

Kingswood College was originally a high school for boys. When the school was first opened by Louis Edmund Blaze, there were only eleven students. At this time, almost all of the schools on the island had been categorized as state aided government schools, and missionary schools. In the beginning, grants from the government were available until the school showed signs of having established itself with a solidcore of good teachers and a good and expanding complement of students. The first few years of the school's existence was a real struggle for Blaze. The income from the fees barely sufficed to cover the cost of running the school. As institutions run by individuals did not qualify for government assistance, Blaze had no option but hand over the struggling institution to the Methodist Mission to continue till 1961 the year during which the school was taken over by the stateUnder the aegis of the mission, Blaze left an indelible stamp over the school. From the outset, he modelled the school on the English Public School. It is not without significance that a house system was introduced to the school in 1922 and the names selected were those of some of the main public schools in England (Eton, Harrow, Winchester and Rugby). He built up a cadre on the strength of his reputation as an educationist. He coined the term "Gentlemen of Kingswood" to describe the body of students of his school and in all his years as principal of the school (from 1891 until 1923) he endeavoured to give meaning and substance to that often repeated phrase "Gentlemen of Kingswood". He chose a motto for the school in Latin, Fide et Virtute as was customary at the time. He then chose the distinctive school colours, maroon and dark blue, and he wrote the words of the school song.

Kingswood College

Achievements[edit]

The school is known for the following achievements.

  1. The introducer of Rugby Football in Sri Lanka.
  2. The first boys' school to employ a female teacher.
  3. Introducer of the sport rowing to Sri Lanka
  4. One of the first five schools in the country to establish a Cadet Corps and the first ever Champions of the Herman-Loos Trophy in 1917
  5. The first school which introduced "Students Traffic Warden Unit" concept,to the Sri Lankan Schools.
  6. The first Boy Scouts Troop to start the "Joy Boat Service" around the Kandy Lake

The first "Prize Giving" was held as early as 1895, only 4 years after the school was founded. It became an annual feature thereafter. One notable feature of the Kingswood Prize Giving was the "Prologue" written by Blaze, a review in verse of the year's events in the country and the world. It was generally recited by the boy who won the annual Oratory Prize. Because of Blaze's skills as a writer, this witty and elegant commentary in the years gone by soon enjoyed a nationwide readership. Blaze continued to write the annual "Prologue" for the Prize Giving for three decades after his retirement as the Principal in 1923, indeed almost up to the time of his death in his 90th year.

Blaze deserves to be remembered for another distinction. In 1900, he wrote the first comprehensive school "text book" on the history of Sri Lanka. It went into several editions and survived for many decades as the standard school "text book" until it was superseded by the works of one of his earliest pupils at Kingswood, G.C. Mendis, who served for many years as a lecturer and later reader in the Department of History at the University of Ceylon.

Blaze held the post of principal of Kingswood for 32 years retiring in 1923. He had seen the school through its formative years and had securely established it as a leading private school in the country. Before his retirement he planned the removal of the school from the small premises it occupied in Pavilion Street. As the number of students continued to grow the need for a more spacious and less noisy environment became a matter of increasing urgency. The first step in locating a new site for the school and designing the new building were taken up before he retired. The new location was in the village of Wel-Ata in Mulgampola then a quiet and seemingly distant suburb of Kandy.

The shift to the new site and the new buildings that came up were made possible by a generous gift of money from a British industrialist, Sir John Scurrah Randles. The complex of buildings that came up consisted of class rooms, an administrative building, a large hostel and some staff quarters. The school's new location and railway halt just opposite it were named Randles Hill to honor Kingswood's main benefactor of modern times. The new buildings were opened in 1925 under Blaze's successor, Rev. E. Pearson, who ran the school for 4 years. He was succeeded by Messrs O. L. Gibbon (1929–1937) and F. A. J. Utting (1937–1942). They consolidated the work that Blaze had begun, and during their administration, the school developed into one of the leading Methodist schools in the country.

Although Kingswood was a Methodist missionary school, the student body contained Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Muslims Burghers, Eurasians and a vibrant mix of Ceylonese identity groups such as Malays, Chettis, Moors etc. A strong trans-national admission was seen till the time of Independence. Methodist students did have some advantage when it came to the award of scholarships, but the special scholarships were awarded on merit and open to all. The 1940s was a crucial period in the development of the school. Wartime conditions put an end to the practice of sending Englishmen as principals of the school and in 1942 Mr. P.H. Nonis became the first Sinhalese national to head the school. He held the post for 15 years. The school admitted some boys from St Thomas' college Mt. Lavinia, when the latter had to vacate its ample premises, during the years of World War II. Even a more momentous decision had to be taken as the Free Education system was introduced in the late 1940s, and the Methodist mission had to decide whether the school would opt out of it and retain its independence as a fee levying school or to join the national education in which the state would pay the teaching staff and relieve its students of the need to pay fees. Some elite schools in the island decided to opt out. But few missionary schools could afford to forgo the advantage to cover salaries of the staff. Kingswood was one of them.

Mr. P.N. Nonis presided the transition from an independent school to a school in the national school system. Although not yet a state school. The autonomy of the school was not disturbed, and the control of the education department bureaucracy were neither very vigorous nor rigid. Thus the change in status was a very subtle one and the school was able to maintain both its independence and its traditions almost undisturbed.

Even at this time, Kingswood was a relatively small institution (with about 700 students and about 35 teachers) compared to more reputed schools in the hill country.

During this period, the school built up a high reputation in various sports. Kingswood always held a reputation for hockey and during Mr. P. H. Nonis' period that reputation was enhanced. Himself was a well known school cricketer in his day, he built up a good cricket team. If one single individual personified the schools' achievements in sports during this era it would undoubtedly be Frederick A. White, younger brother of the famous Duncan White.

After the retirement of Mr. Nonis, Mr. B. A. Thambipillai took over as Acting Principal who held office till the arrival of Kenneth M. de Lanerolle (1958–1967). His was a much more difficult task than that of his predecessors, for during 1960 - 1961 the school became a state school. The link with the Methodist mission which had lasted for seven decades was broken at last.

Once the state took over the school the number of students kept increasing as in other state run schools in the country. Although the state financed the salaries and wages of the teachers and the support staff, it became more difficult to maintain sports and other extra curricular activities and to manage facilities to the same old degree. Nor was it easy as in the past, to finance the construction of new buildings. Nevertheless new buildings came up thanks to the initiatives of Mr. de Lanerolle and his persistent search for funds from parents, old boys and well-wishers.

In the 20 years or more since Mr. de Lanerolle's retirement in 1967 there had been nine principals. The present one, Mr. N. Ratnayake took over in 1998 after Mr. Abeyratne. Mr. E. S. Liyanage who was principal from 1977 to 1984 was the first old boy to become the principal of the school. Out of these, the period of Mr. Nihal Herath and Mr. R. B. Rambukwella were of much importance. Mr. Nihal Herath brought changes to the college bringing about progress in discipline, standard of education and sports. He also made preparations for the centenary year that was to come in 1991 before he left as the Principal of Dharmaraja College, Kandy.

The post-1961 principals have had a much more difficult task in the management of the school than their predecessors. They were part of a complex administrative system and were in transferable service. Their control over the admission of students was very limited. They had little influence in the choice of teachers for the school. Thus they faced formidable challenges to maintain the school as a distinctive entity within the state system and to keep alive school traditions of the past. By now the college cadet band has achieved as the best band in 2007 & 2009.

The solid and elegant old buildings are a legacy from the past. None of the modern buildings can match them in style and quality of construction. Even the playing field had been expanded to a limited degree. Thus the physical shape of the school is much the same as in the days of the Methodist mission. Those who lead the school during this century would need to preserve as much of the original shape as is possible, just as they need to add to the number of building to cope with the increase in the number of students, seeking admission.

The last principal who served in the college was Mr. Ranjith Chandrasekara (2000-2013), a humble person who reigned the college for almost 13 years and was promoted as the National Schools Director for Sri Lanka and currently serves for the Ministry of Education and is the Sri Lanka Schools Rugby Foundations(SLSRF) chairman who did the most prominent job for school by manipulating a swimming pool complex, a fully furnished auditorium and main hall and a well equipped gymnasium plus a great playground for school.The most prominent and noble character behind Kingswood's apex domination is Mr. Chandrasekara's rule which also brought the school hundreds of achievements in the island level as well as globally. We could say that he made the school solid as this college was a center of a talk in 1999, as there was a huge accident; a student died and the College's other students burnt a bus and most principals were afraid to take this position but Mr. Chandrasekara also maintained the College's discipline at its apex and now is a well disciplined college in the country.

College anthem[edit]

Kingswood College anthem
"Hill-throned"

Intro

Hill-throned, where Nature is gracious and kind,

Home of our early youth, grant us the love of truth,

Health for the body, and light for the mind.

KINGSWOOD, O may we be loyal and true to thee,

Holding what'er betide, Virtue and Faith our guide.

Chorus

Loyally, Manfully

All of us true to thee,

'No room for trimmer, coward, or fool;

Word and will true and clean,

Work and play strong and keen,

'None for himself, but all for the school!

School! School! None for himself, but all,

All for the school!

Nor shall the world destroy our love and pride,

For both, we know, the stronger shall grow,

And whatever thy fortunes, we stand at thy side.

Present and Past shall be one in the heart, all for thee,

Holding what'er betide, Virtue and Faith our guide.

Chorus:

Then in all things, whatever Duty's voice many call

Ready we follow and spring to our work;

Country or School may call; play the game, Forward, all!

Shoulder to shoulder, disdaining to shirk!

Duty we dare not flee, heavy the cost may be,

Holding what'er betide, Virtue and faith our guide.

Chorus:

External links[edit]