A Brief History and Organizational Structure

State University Establishment

Sri Lanka has inherited two major traditions of higher education, one going back to the institutions developed by the Buddhist Sangha, both in India and Sri Lanka, and the other derived from the British traditions of the religious and secular Universities. The former tradition has survived to this day in Sri Lanka through the Pirivenas or the Institutes of Buddhist education. Two premier Pirivenas at the turn of the twentieth century were the Vidyodaya Pirivena, at Maligakanda, Colombo, and the Vidyalankara Pirivena in Kelaniya, also not far from Colombo. 

The British tradition was introduced towards the end of the nineteenth century (1870), first with a Medical School, and later a Law College (1874), both in Colombo. Still later some schools were permitted to prepare students for the external examinations of the Calcutta and London Universities. The setting up of the University College in Colombo in 1921, with affiliation to the London University heralded the next step in the development of higher education to be later followed by the setting up of the University of Ceylon in Colombo in 1942.

University education in Sri Lanka was exclusively in English, with obvious limitations on those educated in Sinhala and Tamil. However with the introduction of the national languages as the media of instruction in all schools, leading up to the university entrance level, a single university for the whole country, and teaching only in English, became completely untenable .The government when confronted with this challenge, was constrained to seek ways and means of expanding the access to education at tertiary level.

Establishment of the University under the University Act

In 1956, following a change of government, and in conformity with its general policy of promoting national languages and culture, it was decided to establish two new universities, by bestowing university status to the Vidyodaya and Vidyalankara Pirivenas. Accordingly as provided for in the Vidyodaya University and Vidyalankara University Act No 45 of 1958, the two universities were duly established at Maligakanda and Kelaniya respectively. Ven. Welivitiye Soratha Maha Thero who was the Principal of the Vidyodaya Pirivena at the time was appointed the first Vice-Chancellor of the Vidyodaya University, and the university itself was ceremonially opened on 16th February 1959.

Sir Oliver Goonatilleke the Governor-General and ex-officio Chancellor of the University thus expressed the aims and objectives of the new university, when he ceremonially inaugurated the university two days later.

Governance Structure of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura

The Chancellor – Ven. Dr. Ittapana Dhammalankara Anu Nayake Maha Thero

The Chief Prelate (Mahanayake) of Kotte Sri Kalayani Samagri Dharma Maha Sangha Sabha of Siyam Maha Nikaya: 

The Chancellor is the ceremonial head of the university and is usually a distinguished figure, often from the political or public service arena. The role is largely honorary and involves presiding over ceremonial events, including graduations.

Vice chancellor – Senior Professor Pathmalal M. Manage

The Vice-Chancellor: The Vice-Chancellor is the chief executive officer of the university and is responsible for overseeing its day-to-day operations. This includes academic affairs, administrative functions, and policy implementation.

Deans of Faculties

Each faculty within the university has a Dean who is responsible for overseeing the academic affairs of that specific faculty. They play a crucial role in curriculum development, faculty management, and student support.

  1. Dean of the Faculty of Humanities & Social sciences
    Professor Shirantha Heenkenda
  2. Dean of the Faculty of Applied Sciences
    Professor Upul Subasinghe
  3. Dean of the Faculty of Management Studies & Commerce
    Dr. Dushan Jayawickrama
  4. Dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences
    Professor Manori Gamage
  5. Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies
    Professor Rasika Perera
  6. Dean of the Faculty of Technology 
    Professor A.I.R.H. Nilmini
  7. Dean of the Faculty of Engineering
    Dr. Nishan Dharmaweera
  8. Dean of the Faculty of Allied Health Sciences 
    Professor D.I Uluwaduge
  9. Dean of the Faculty of Dental Sciences 
    Senior Professor Surangi G. Yasawardene
  10. Dean of the Faculty of Aquatic Bioresources
    Senior Professor Pradeep Jayaweera
  11. Dean of the Faculty of Computing
    Professor Prasad M. Jayaweera


Registrar – Mr. A.B. Welivita
The Registrar is responsible for administrative functions, including student registration, record-keeping, and general administration. They play a pivotal role in maintaining the administrative efficiency of the university.

Dr. Nayana Wijayasundara

Mrs. K.T.C. Piyangani

Heads of Departments: Under each faculty, there are various departments, each headed by a Department Head. They are responsible for the day-to-day running of the departments, including faculty management, curriculum implementation, and research activities.

Read More: https://www.sjp.ac.lk/about-2/officers/


The Council is the highest governing body of the university and is responsible for formulating policies, regulations, and strategic plans. It consists of members from various sectors, including academics, government, industry, and the public.

Members of the Council


Senior Professor Pathmalal M. Manage 

Deans of Faculties
  1. Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences
    Professor Shirantha Heenkenda
  2. Faculty of Applied Sciences
    Professor Upul Subasinghe
  3. Faculty of Management Studies & Commerce
    Dr. Dushan Jayawickrama
  4. Faculty of Medical Sciences
    Senior Prof. Aloka Pathirana
  5. Faculty of Graduate Studies
    Professor Rasika Perera (Acting)
  6. Faculty of Technology
    Professor Renuka Nilmini 
  7. Faculty of Engineering
    Dr. P.M.T. Bandara
  8. Faculty of Allied Health Sciences 
    Professor D.I. Uluwaduge
  9. Faculty of Dental Sciences
    Senior Professor Surangi G. Yasawardene
  10. Faculty of Urban And Aquatic Bioresources
    Senior Professor Pradeep Jayaweera
  11. Faculty of Computing
    Prof. Prasad M. Jayaweera         
Members Elected by the Senate

Snr. Prof. M.T.Samarakoon, Department Of Sociology
Prof. S.T.W.S.Yapa, Department Of Decision Science                           

Members Appointed by the University Grants Commission (Government funded)
  1. Dr. Kirinde Assaji Thero
  2. Dr. Balangoda Sobhitha Thero
  3. Dr. A.M. Mubarak
  4. Dr. Ravi Liyanage
  5. Athula Pathinayake
  6. H.C.D.L. Silva
  7. Roland Munasinghe
  8. Sujeewa Rajapakse
  9. Pradeep Yasarathne
  10. Lumbini Dharshana Senanayake
  11. Sajeewa Medawatte
  12. A.A. Ariyaratne
  13. Aruna Gunarathne
  14. Emeritus Professor Rathnayaka Kaluarachchige Ariyarathne
Secretary to the Council

A.B. Weliwita (Ex-officio) – Registrar

The Senate

The Senate is responsible for academic matters, including curriculum development, examination policies, and quality assurance. It comprises academic staff, administrative representatives, and often student representatives.

  1. Role of the Senate: The Senate is the supreme academic authority within the University of Sri Jayewardenepura. It is responsible for formulating policies and making decisions related to academic programs, curriculum development, research activities, and the overall quality of education provided by the university.
  2. Composition of the Senate: The Senate is typically composed of a diverse group of individuals who collectively contribute to the effective management and governance of the university. The composition may include:


Deans of Faculties.

Heads of Departments.

Elected Academic Staff: The Senate may include elected representatives from the academic staff, who bring the perspectives and concerns of their colleagues to the decision-making process.

External Members: In some cases, the Senate may also include external members, who are experts or professionals from outside the university. They bring a fresh perspective and valuable insights to the discussions and decisions of the Senate.

  1. Responsibilities of the Senate: The Senate is entrusted with several critical responsibilities, including:

Curriculum Development: The Senate is responsible for approving and overseeing the development of academic programs and courses offered by the university.

Quality Assurance: It ensures the maintenance of high academic standards and the quality of education provided by the university.

Research Oversight: The Senate plays a role in setting research priorities, allocating resources, and overseeing research activities within the university.

Policy Formulation: It formulates and reviews policies related to academic matters, including admission criteria, assessment methods, and graduation requirements.

Strategic Planning: The Senate contributes to the development and implementation of the university’s strategic plans and goals.

Student Affairs: It may also have a role in matters related to student welfare, discipline, and extracurricular activities.

  1. Decision-Making Process: Decisions within the Senate are typically made through a combination of discussions, consultations, and formal votes. The Vice-Chancellor, as the chairperson, facilitates these proceedings and ensures that all members have the opportunity to voice their opinions.

Admission Process

The admission process at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura is regulated by several bodies:

University Grants Commission (UGC): The UGC is the apex body responsible for the coordination and determination of standards in universities in Sri Lanka. It allocates a quota of students to each university based on the capacity and demand for each course.

Academic Departments and Faculties: The individual faculties and departments determine specific admission criteria for each program. This may include academic qualifications, standardized test scores, and other relevant criteria.

Selection Committee: Each faculty typically has a selection committee responsible for reviewing applications and conducting interviews or examinations as necessary.

Merit-Based Selection: Admissions at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura are primarily based on merit. This means that students are selected based on their academic performance, relevant qualifications, and other criteria specified by the university.