Nestled in the sleepy suburb of the Gampaha district in a sprawling landscape intermittently girded by shrubby foliage majestically stands this citadel of teacher training, Siyane National College of Education.
Bordering the Dadagamuwa tank on one side and reaching the industrial zone at Malwatta on the other, the College premises stretch over 80 acres of lands donated by the former Prime Minister mrss. Sirimawo Bandaranayaka, in a semi-rural location, which is an ideal base for both academic and professional work for teachers. Born with a novel concept for teacher training against the backdrop of the conventional teacher training courses conducted at Teacher Training Colleges, she has in her comparatively short yet productive history produced illustrious and eminent teachers who are working in the many parts of the country rendering a great service to the present generation of the students.
A significant landmark in the field of teacher education in Sri Lanka took place with the establishment of 5 colleges of education in Sri Lanka on 1st of October in 1985. This number today has risen to 18 colleges which offer more than 20 Courses on different disciplines.
The honourable Minister of Education of the government then, Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe in his statement in the introduction to the journal of the college of education writes this.
“This College of Education came into being with the hope of achieving a change in the quality of teacher educational programmes functioneing now, and the recruitment of teachers to the government schools in Sri Lanka being a major component linked with the process of service in the school System.”
The objects of concept of colleges of Education can be encapsulated as follow.
- A change in the recruitment of teachers.
- Recruitment of teachers with a profound training of teaching and methods of teaching.
- Professionalism and development in vocation.
- Stable media of supplying teachers into the school system.
- Full-time residence throughout the course duration, cultivating novel attitudes towards the profession of teaching through workshops conducted for the teacher trainees to widen socialization of the teacher.
- According to the above summary, the mission of a college of Education should be to give birth to a community of teachers directed entirely towards the profession of teaching.
With the intention of fulfilling the above objectives the following five colleges of education were established in October 1985.
- Siyane National College of Education- Veyangoda (Science and Mathematics)
- Mahaveli College of Education-Polgolla (primary Education)
- Hapitigama College of Education- Mirigama (primaryEducation)
- Uva College of Education-Bandarawela (Sport and Physical Education)
- Pasdunrata College of Education- Kalutara (Teaching English)
Accordingly, Siyane National College of Education functions as a centre of training teachers of science, mathematics and technology. The main aim of this college of education is subjecting the teachers to a proper course of training that equips the teachers with the necessary competencies in teaching those subjects in Grades 6-11 classes in both junior and senior secondary schools in Sri Lanka in English and SInhala media..
The teacher training school which came into being in 1971 was transformed later into Siyane National College of Education in 1985. The Physical resources the college had were appropriately adapted to the conditions needed while new appoinments were given promoting the human resources. In 1985 127 teacher trainees of science and 42 teacher trainees of mathematics were recruited. This number gradually increased and at present about three hundred trainees are recruited annually. The founder President of Siyane National College of Education was colonel K.G.P. Nilame. Two vice Presidents, both academic and administration assisted him. For every coordinating purpose two army officials were appointed as coordinating lectures. In addition to them, two deans, subject lectures, assistant lecturers were also appointed. Thus the total number of the members of the staff of the academic section was about 38.
The registrar, the clerks, minor employees, drivers, a plumber, watchers and labourers were among the appointees on the non-academic staff.
According to a gazette notification, from the President down to every official at the college of Education should reside within the premises. Thus, about fifty quarters of residence were constructed on the compound covering about 85 acres of land.
Four hostels were built separately for the male and female trainees. Homes of residence for the wardens of the hostel were too constructed. Two vehicles were there for transport services of the college.
Five presidents of the Siyane National College of Education have retired from service, keeping a golden name in the history of Siyane. The founder president of the college of education Colonel Nilame retired from service in 1987. Mr. Amarasinghe who followed retired in 1994. Mr. Jinadasa the successor retired in next. Mr. D.L. Batugahage who served the college for a long period retired in 2007 and Mr. Nimal Jayasekara who came next retired in 2010. Now Mr. J.A.A. Chandrasiri functions as the president of this college.
It is noteworthy that Siyane National College of Education is the leading light with an untiring effort to incorperate the changes of the 21st century into the field of teacher training by giving birth to a community of teachers with a broadened knowledge, attitudes of goodwill and skills of utility.
We believe that Siyane has won a name of its own as an institution of education and teachers who come from it lead this country to a brighter future.