University of Sri Jayewardenepura

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University of Sri Jayewardenepura
ශ්‍රී ජයවර්ධනපුර විශ්වවිද්‍යාලය
University of Sri Jayewardenepura crest.png
Motto Vijja Uppattam Setta
(among all that arise, knowledge is the greatest)
Established 1959 (as Vidyodaya University)
Chancellor Prof. Ven. Bellanvila Vimalarathana Thero
Vice-Chancellor Prof. Sampath Amaratunge
Location Nugegoda, Sri Lanka Sri Lanka
Campus Main premises at Gangodawila
Affiliations University Grants Commission of Sri Lanka,
Association of Commonwealth Universities
Logo of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura

The University of Sri Jayewardenepura (Sinhala: ශ්‍රී ජයවර්ධනපුර විශ්වවිද්‍යාලය, Tamil: ஸ்ரீ ஜயவர்தனபுர பல்கலைக்கழகம்) is a university in Sri Lanka. It is in Gangodawila, Nugegoda, near Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte, the capital city. It was formed in 1958 out of the Vidyodaya Pirivena, a Buddhist educational centre.


Students Hero Statue Sri Jayewardenepura University Sri Lanka

The University of Sri Jayewardenepura dates to 1873, when the Ven. Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Nayaka Thero laid the foundation stone for the university as a pirivena (Institute of Buddhist and Oriental Studies) named Vidyodaya (meaning "awakening of knowledge"). It was built on land at Maligakanda, a Colombo suburb, with funds gifted by Andiris Perera Dharmagunawardhana. Mohottiwatte Gunananda, who was a great force in the emergence of this pirivena, intended to train educated orator monks to save Buddhism. For that purpose he made logic compulsory in pirivena education. The pirivena taught Buddhist studies as well as pseudo-sciences like astrology, widely accepted and held in high esteem in traditional society.

The transition from pirivena to university gradually converted it to a secular center of learning.

The University Act and the New University[edit]

In 1956, following a change of government with Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike as the prime minister and following the policy of promoting national languages and culture, it was decided to establish two new universities by conferring university status on the Vidyodaya and Vidyalankara Pirivenas.[1] Accordingly, the Vidyodaya University and Vidyalankara University Act No. 45 of 1958 established the universities at the Vidyodyaya Pirivena at Maligakanda and the Vidyalankara Pirivena at Kelaniya. In 1958, it was reconstituted as the Vidyodaya University of Ceylon.

Welivitiye Soratha Maha Thero, who was the principal of the Vidyodaya Pirivena, was appointed the first vice-chancellor of Vidyodaya University. The university was ceremonially opened on 16 February 1959. Sir Oliver Goonatilleke, the governor-general and ex-officio chancellor of the university, expressed its aims and objectives:[2]

The university commenced its academic activities with five faculties: Buddhist Studies, Philosophy, Languages, Arts, and Ayurveda and Science. There were 22 departments of study. Some of the students of the Vidyodaya Pirivena were among the first students of the university. Adult candidates with the requisite minimum entry requirements were also selected for admission. Admission was restricted to males and the initial student population was composed mainly of bhikkus (Buddhist monks). The initial academic staff were drawn from the same Pirivena, or those who had been its outstanding alumni, and were mainly scholarly Buddhist monks. Pandit Wickramarachchi, a famous Ayurveda physician, was in charge of the minuscule department of science. These more secular subjects required the services of visiting lay staff.

New campus[edit]

Sri Lanka University

In 1961, a new location was selected at Gangodawila, 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) southeast from the center of Colombo and in walking distance of a main trunk road known as the High Level Road. This road connects Colombo to Ratnapura and beyond. Part of these lands belonged to the nearby Sunethradevi Pirivena, associated with King Parakramabahu VI (1412–1467). The shift of the university to the new site was effected on 22 November 1961, under the direction of Sri Soratha Thera. The vice-chancellor invited the Department of the Government Archives to establish its archives within the campus, close to the University Library, to encourage research.

The Higher Education Act No. 20 of 1966 brought far-reaching changes to the university scene in Sri Lanka. As a result, admission to both universities was opened to female students. The post of vice-chancellor would no longer be restricted to the sangha, and all academic and administrative appointees had to satisfy criteria determined by the newly created National Council of Higher Education. This modernization process resulted in the restructuring of some of the faculties and departments of study, as well as of programmes of study. When Walpola Rahula was the vice-chancellor,[3] the university grew significantly in stature. When Rahula left the university in 1969, linguist D. E. Hettiarachchi took over. A noted employee of at this time was Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was chairman of the United Corporations and Mercantile Union local on the campus. He later went on to be President of Sri Lanka.

Insurgency and merger[edit]

Following the insurgency of 1971, the university premises were taken over by the army and converted into a detention camp for suspected insurgents since many undergraduates had links with the insurgency. During this temporary occupation (1971–1972) the university functioned from temporary locations in Colombo, maintaining the basic academic and administrative services. Ellawala and V. K. Samaranayake were the vice-chancellors.

In 1972, all universities were merged into one institution under the University of Ceylon Act No. 1 that renamed all universities as campuses of a single University of Sri Lanka. Vidyodaya University became Vidyodaya Campus headed by a campus president, appointed by the Minister of Education. The first president of the campus under this system was Chandre Dharmawardana.

The university programmes became more "job-oriented", and attempts were made to introduce course-unit systems and other methods of continuous assessment. The very first course in Development Studies in Sri Lanka, leading to a degree (B. Dev.) was started at this time. Post-graduate courses in Statistics, Food Science, Polymer Science and Optometry were offered. The departments of Geography, Economics, Public and Business management, etc., were expanded.

Reestablishment and renaming[edit]

Following change in government in 1977, the Universities Act No. 16 of 1978 returned independent university status to the campuses while assigning some of the coordinating functions to a new University Grants Commission. Being close to the city of Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte, the reestablished institution was renamed University of Sri Jayewardenepura.

Its full-time student population is over 8,500,[4] enrolled in the faculties of Arts, Management Studies and Commerce, Applied Sciences, Medical Sciences, and Graduate Studies


Jayewardenepura Science Faculty
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, The Sumangala Building
A view of Department of Physics over the garden

The University has five main faculties. Including Faculty of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Management Studies and Commerce, Faculty of Medical Sciences and the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Faculty of Applied Sciences[edit]

(Direct Link) The dean of the faculty is Prof. Sudantha Liyanage of the Department of Chemistry.

Academic departments[edit]

  • Department of Physics
  • Department of Mathematics
  • Department of Statistics and Computer Science (Direct Link)
  • Department of Chemistry
  • Department of Botany
  • Department of Zoology
  • Department of Forestry and Environmental Science
  • Department of Food Science and Technology

Faculty of Humanities and social sciences[edit]

Direct Link

The dean of the faculty is Mr. C.L.K Nawarathne.

Academic departments[edit]

  • Department of Economics
  • Department of Political Science
  • Department of English
  • Department of Geography
  • Department of History and Archaeology
  • Department of Pali and Buddhist Studies
  • Department of Languages and Cultural Studies
  • Department of Sinhala and Mass Communication
  • Department of Social Statistics
  • Department of Sociology and Anthropology
  • Department of Information and Communication technology (BSc)


Faculty of Management Studies and Commerce[edit]

Faculty of Management Studies and Commerce

(Direct LInk)

The Dean of the faculty of Management Studies and commerce is Prof. Sampath Amarathunga. Dene's Massage

  • Department of Accounting ( Offerd by B.SC Accounting SP) (Direct Link)
  • Department of Business Administration ( Offerd By B.Sc Business Adminstation Sp) (Direct Link)
  • Department of Commerce ( Offerd By Special) (Direct Link)
  • Department of Decision Sciences ( Offered By B.Sc Operation Management SP) (Direct Link)
  • Department of Entrepreneurship ( Offered By B.Sc Entepreneruship Sp) (Direct Link)
  • Department of Estate Management & Valuation ( Offered By B.Sc Estate Mgt. & valuvation Sp) (Direct Link)
  • Department of Finance ( Offered by B.Sc Finance Sp) (Direct Link)
  • Department of Human Resources Management ( Offerd By B.Sc HRM Sp) (Direct LInk)
  • Department of Information Technology ( Offered By B.Sc Business Information System Sp) (Direct Link)
  • Department of Marketing Management ( Offerec By B.Sc Marketing Mgt SP ) (Direct Link)
  • Department of Public Management (Offerecd By B.Sc Public Mgt Sp)(Direct Link)

Special units[edit]

  • Information Technology Resource Centre (ITRC) (Direct Link)
  • Accounting Resource Centre (ARC)
  • Small and Medium Enterprise Development Support Unit (SMEDSU)

Faculty of Medical Sciences[edit]

The faculty of Medical Sciences, the youngest faculty in the University has achieved a phenomenal growth in a very short time offering study programmes; Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBS), Bachelor of Nursing (BSc. Nursing), Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Sciences (BSc. MLS), Bachelor of Pharmacy (BSc. Pharmacy) and Bachelor of Human Biology (BSc. Human Biology). Since its inception in 1993, the Faculty has progressed to one of the most sought after Faculties in the country with its students obtaining high ranking positions. The National Quality Assurance Committee appointed by the University Grants Commission in 2011 has awarded the University the status of excellence.

The faculty is guided by Professor Surangi Gayaneetha Yasawardene, the dean. The academic staff consists of senior specialist with many years of experience in the clinical and academic activities and a dynamic group of young consultants/specialist. There are 28 professors, 59 senior lecturers and 38 lecturers working full-time (2012) in addition to the extended faculty (Ministry of Health staff in hospital sector, general practitioners and many other institutions involved in training our undergraduates). There are 50 academic support staff assisting in carrying out academic activities, research and other service components. The Department of Medical Education and Health Sciences (DME&HS) was established to improve and sustain the quality of the learning/teaching processes in the faculty and to conduct certificate, diploma of degree courses in Health Sciences. Although Medical Education units are available in the university system, the DME&HS is the 'first and only one' department established under the university system to develop, implement and review activities related to improving the efficiency of learning/teaching related to Medical and Health Sciences. Most remarkably, the DME&HS is successfully facilitating collaborative work in implementing medical and para-medical (Allied Health Sciences) programmes including Nursing, Pharmacy and Medical and Laboratory Science degrees.

Academic departments[edit]

  • Anatomy
  • Biochemistry
  • Community Medicine
  • Physiology
  • Family Medicine
  • Forensic Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Medical Education and Health Sciences
  • Medical Laboratory Sciences
  • Medicine
  • Microbiology
  • Nursing
  • Paediatrics
  • Parasitology
  • Pathology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry
  • Surgery


Postgraduate Institute of Management[edit]

The Postgraduate Institute of Management is a semi-autonomous body affiliated to the university. It promotes advanced education and professionalism in management in Sri Lanka through the provision of postgraduate instruction, training, research, and development in the branches of management and administrative studies.

Historically related institution[edit]

The Vidyalankara University was created at the same time as the Vidyodaya University. Today Vidyalankara University is known as the University of Kelaniya.


The University of Sri Jayewardenepura is noted for a high level of ragging in recent years with several major incidents grabbing national headlines. These include the killing of Samantha Vithanage, who pioneered an anti-ragging campaign, by pro-ragging JVP supporters[6][7] and the resignation of Prof. Chandima Wijebandara, the vice chancellor of the university, in protest against the ragging.[8]


External links[edit]