Department of Sinhala

Sinhala was also a subject under the Faculty of Languages as the other languages at the very beginning of the university. The Dean of the Faculty of Languages was the Head of the Department of Sinhala at the initial stages. Pandit, Ven. Morawaka Sidhartha Thero, Pandit Ven. Degammadi Sumanajothi Thero and Mr. D.G.O. Vajirapani were in the first staff of the Department of Sinhala. Since lectures were conducted in the Sinhala medium at the Sri Lanka Vidyalankara University, it became extremely popular among rural students who were not able to afford the prestigious English education of the other universities during that era. It was significant that a majority of the university applicants during that time selected Sinhala Language and Sinhala Literature as the major subject of their degree. With the number of students of the department growing yearly, the staff also increased accordingly. By the year of 1966, women were also granted the privilege of entering the university. Professor D.J.Wijayaratne, the Deputy Head of the Department of Sinhala during that period and also a distinguished academic in the field of Grammar and Historical Linguistics, made an outstanding contribution to improve the teaching and learning methods and the efficiency of the department. It was during this time that young lecturers such as Most Venerable Kotawila Dhammakiththi Thero, Venerable Kalakiriyagama Dhammakiththi Thero, Chandrasiri Palliyaguru, Somarathne Balasooriya, A. A. Abeysinghe. Ananda Abeysiriwardhana, Bandusena Gunasekera, G.G.Dharmasiri, Hema Gunathilake, Seetha Padmini and Dharma Pathiraja joined the academic staff of the Department of Sinhala.

Significant changes were made to enhance the quality of the department during the term of Prof. D.J. Wijayarathne. Setting up a programme to offer foreign scholarships for probationary lecturers to complete their Ph.Ds abroad was one of these. Teaching Modern Literature which was already initiated by lecturers Miniwan P. Thilakarathne and Wimal Dissanayake was broadened by the inclusion of western literary criticism into the syllabus.

The Sinhala Club started their journey in 1960s under the guidance of the lecturers of the Department of Sinhala. The Club launched the "Sinhala Journal" which was a comprehensive academic journal that comprised the articles of both lecturers and students. Mr. Somarathna Balasooriya who later became a professor in the Department together with Ven. Dagonne Udayadhamma Thero and Mr. Indrapala Abeyweera launched another journal titled "Vimansa" the success of which served to make the department a well-known educational center among the students as well as in Sri Lanka.

After the improvements brought about by the Education Reforms of 1972, the University of Kelaniya was known as the hub of Languages and Cultural Studies in tertiary education.

As a result of this outstanding reputation, several Senior Professors of the Universities of Colombo, Peradeniya and Vidyodaya such as Prof. Ananda Balasooriya, Prof. P. B. Sannasgala, Dr. B. P. F. Wijerathne and Dr. D. V. Hapuarachchi were appointed to the Department of Sinhala of the University of Kelaniya.

Heads of the Department of Sinhala up to date.

Professor Kotahene Pangnakitti Thero

Professor Ananda Kulasuriya

Professor Ananda Jayasekara

Professor Nandasena Mudiyanse

Professor Miniwan P. Thilakarathne

Professor Somarathne Balasuriya

Professor Ananda Abeysiriwardhana

Professor Chandrasiri Palliyaguru

Professor A. A. Abeysinghe

Prof. G.Nanayakkara

Prof. T.R.G. Dela Bandara

Professosr Jinadasa Danansooriya

Prof. Rev. Okkampitiye Pannasara