Moratu Maha Vidyalaya
nique characters are born in this island from time to time and they render a great service on behalf of the nation. These individuals deliver without pursuing a selfish agenda. One such individual was M.C.J.Fernando; a unique character who founded Moratu Maha Vidyalaya.
When delving into the history of education in Sri Lanka, it was the missionary fathers who established missionary schools for the spreading of Christianity in every nook and corner of the country. Even though there was a need for the the establishment of Buddhist schools to impart education to Buddhist children, such facilities were rare.
In the meantime, M.C.J.Fernando, who understood the need for the establishment of Buddhist schools, bought a 7-acre land and formed the Sri Lanka Buddhist Society on May 11, 1924. Later, this land was transferred to the society with the deed. It was during this time that several Buddhist elites including P.de.S Kularatna, Sir D.B.Jayatillake, W.Arthur de Silva, Prof. Gunapala Malalasekera and C.W.W.Kannangara offered their unstinted support for the development of education.
The foundation stone was laid for the construction of Moratu Maha Vidyalaya on that day itself. The buildings attached to this Vidyalaya were completed with great difficulties. The institute commenced educational activities with 65 children and within three months the population of the school increased to 250.This school became a popular school within such a short a time and the government gave permission to this academic institute to admit children for the London Matriculation Examination. With the passage of time, it became a popular school to gain higher education.
Open to all
At present, this school consists of more than 2000 students and 90 teachers. For the record the past pupils of the school have become educationists, intellectuals, artistes, sportsmen and successful businessmen. Now, the school boasts of having not only Buddhist children, but also children belonging to other faiths. The objective of this school is to introduce good citizens to the society who honour the teachings of Gautama Buddha.
Due to the great service rendered by M .C.J.Fernando, the Buddhists can display their abilities proudly with the education that they gain at this school. Although Fernando died at the age of 54 in 1939, there are lasting memories of the services he rendered for the benefit of Buddhists.
In order to commemorate his service, a series of merit evoking ceremonies are lined up. They will be held on January 18 and 19 at the Buddhist Mandiraya and School premises in Moratuwa with the participation of his family members and relations. A commemorative lecture will be held by Manoj Fernando, a senior lecturer of Rajarata University and a past pupil of the school. Several lectures are scheduled to be delivered by distinguished guests. On the first night of the commemoration day, a pirith chanting is to be held. This will be followed by an alms giving to monks. A blood donation campaign has also been organised by the Students Union.