Amina Maha Vidyalaya, Matale is one of the leading Muslim Girls' National School in the Central Province of Sri Lanka. This School is in heart of the town Matale, a populous city, 141 km from Colombo,the Capital of Sri Lanka and 26km from the Hill Capital of Kandy. Matale is situated in the central of a big valley, surrounded by paddy fields, villages and the beautiful mountain range of Nuckles. Tea, Rubber, Cocoa, Coffee, Coconut and Cinnamons are commonly grown in the Mountain slopes, with terretial paddy fields, whilst majority of the villagers are farmers, engaged in paddy cultivation. The name 'Matale' is derived from the sinhala word, 'Mahatila' which means 'Big valley'.
The School bears the name of Holy Prophet's Mother, Amina (Ral), which name aptly suits this pioneer Muslim Girls' educational institute.
This Institution is very much indebted to some of the leading Muslim Businessman, Social Workers and Philanthropists. The then established "Matale Muslim Educational Society" was a brain child of Late S. Meera Sahib, Haji M.A.M. ..........., Haji S.M. Mohideen (Meezan), Haji O.L.A. Azeez, A. ................. who took keen interest in the upliftment of education amongst the Muslim Community. Marhoom Haji A.K. Ismail had been the driving force of this Institution.
Soon after the Second World War the concept of Tamil-Arabic School for Muslims began to change. The Management of Hameedia School, Colombo took initiative to set up an English Medium Schools for Muslims. An English Medium School in Matale was Started with merely four students, viz., the three sons and the daughter of Marhoom, Philanthropist, S. Meera Sahib, on 08.08.1942. Janab T. Sally functioned as the Prncipal.
At this juncture, Marhoom T.B. jayah was actively angaged in PROPAGATING English Education for Muslims, in various parts of the Island. As a result the above Institution was transformed as the Branch of the Zahira College, Colombo and drew the attention of all concerned in the field of Muslim Education. The late Mr. V.T. Nanayakkara, the then Principal of Vijaya Collage Matale was instrumental in streanthening the growth of Zahira Collage, Matale. Many Students from Vijaya Collage opted to join Zahira Collage. The Matale Muslim community is greatly indebted to Mr. Nanayakkara.
The Zahira Collage , Colombo established Branch Zahiras in Gampola,Matale, Puttalam and Aluthgama. Many Schools were setup in predominantly Muslim areas such as Kalmunai, Bandarawela, Kurunegala, Anuradhapura, Trincomalee and Bulugohotenne, Akurana under the name 'Zahira'. Majority of the learned males and females of Matale are past pupils of Zahira Collage, Matale they excelled in curricular activities, extra curricular activities and co-curricular activities that they commanded a high esteen amongst all communities in Sri Lanka.
Zahira Collage, Matale began to function on its own with adeguate buildings and staff. The late philanthropists and social wokers like Janab S. Meera Sahib, Haji M.A.M Cassim & Janab L.T. Abbas donated lands by deed No. 1664 dated 30.03.1948 attested by Mr. S.P. Wijeyatilleke, Notary Public for new buildings. Janaba A.R.M. Nilam took the reigns as the Principal of Zahira Collage, Matale.
Professor Rauff Batcha of india succeeded Janaba Nilam. After a short span of service of Proferssor Batcha, Janab Aneef Doray took over. Subseguently Mr. M.V. Maththai became the principal of this pioneer muslim seat of learning in 1946.
The services rendered to this Institution and for the betterment of Muslim education in Matale by Mr. Maththai is immeasurable. Zahira was spoken of in every part of the island. The Collage shined in Education and Sports as well, here and abroad.
Al Haj S.H.A. Wadood, the first Muslim Graduate from the District of Matale, joined Zahira Collage as the Vice Pricipal in 1950. By the Year 1953, the boys were shifted to Taralanda and it became two as Zahira Boys' section and Zahira Girls' section. Miss. Dora Tennekoon became the Principal of Girls' School but under one Management.
Thus, a seperate school for Muslim girls saw its birth in Matale. Miss Tennekoon, a talented and versatile teacher, did everything possible to keep abreast with the Boys' School in education and administration. In both the sections classess were held in both English and Tamil Medium, for Senior School Certificate Levels.
The Zahira Girls' Section that funtioned since 1942 in Gongawela Buildings was shifted to the present location in 1962, for many reasons. Gongawela Buldings were in the commercial and congested area. Besides lack of floor space. Apart from that the present location was in a serene area where it was highly conducive to learning environment, especially for Muslim girls. This location had 11/2 Acres in extent that new buildings could be put up.
Miss. Laila Mohideen, a graduate from the University of Peradeniya assumed duties as the Principal of Zahira Girls' School, in the newly lacated School. She was very active, ardent, enthusiastic and devoted teacher.She introduced for the first time the uniform for Muslim girls, with long trouser and pijama, which distinctly dissociated our girls' from girls of other community, in conformity with the Muslim traditions. She encouraged the girls to take part in competitions and oratorical contests that were held in All Island level. The students performed very well in Public Examination as well. She did every thing possible to keep our girls in par with those girls in other Schools.
Miss. D. Buckman succeeded Miss Laila Mohideen in 1963, who was also a graduate. Afer short span Mrs. Seetha Navaneethaguru, an English Trained Teacher took over as the Principal.
Mrs. Navaneethaguru had been teaching for quite a long time at the Zahira Boys' School that she had all the training and knowledge required of a Principal and efficiently managed the Zahira Girls' School. Her services for the school is above praise.
Thereafter Miss. A.Y. Shakoor, who is also a graduate, asumed duties as the Principal in 196.. Miss Salih went a step further by starting Advanced Level Classes for the first time. The students did very well at the G.C.E. (Ordinary Level) Examinations, and at the Advanced Level. In 1968 four girls from the Zahira Girls' School, Matale, for the first time, gained admission to the University of Colombo. Indeed, those students, T.U. Nazeem, S.D.S. Laleena, M.H.S. Rifaya and M.M Asma have brought honour to the Institution. It is note worthy that the present Vice Principal of Amina Maha Vidyalaya (National School) Mrs. U.N.S. Pathahudeen is one of the those four girls who entered the Univercity from this Schoothe first time. Miss. Shakoor was successful enough to secure new building as well for the School during her tenure of office.
Then in 1973 Miss. S.H.H. Salih became the Principal of Zahira Girls' School, succeeding Miss. Shakoor, who went as the Principal to the Teachers' Training College, Aluthgama. Miss. S.H.H. Salih has the credit of being the first Muslim Girl who entered the Univercity of Peradeniya from Zahira College, Gampola and a past pupil of Desabandu Marhoom Al Haj Dr. Baddu-ud-din Mahmud, the former Minister of Education.
Dr. Baddi-ud-din Mahmud was desirous of changing the name of School that In 1974 the name 'Zahira Girls' School' was changed to 'Amina Girls' School' after the name of Prophet Mohamed's mother.
Miss. S.H.H. Salih introduced appointments of Prefects and Board of Prefects. Importance to duty, obligation and discipline were emphasized by appointments of Prefects, the Student Leaders.
In 1974 Mrs.H.U. Haniffa, the then Vice Principal, took over the School as the Acting Principal on the transfer of Miss. S.H.H. Salih, during which period Mrs. Abdul Cader assumed duties as the Principal.
Mrs. Abdul Cader was an efficient and hardworking Principal. She did everything possible in her capacity for the welfare and benefit of the pupils on her transfer, Mrs. G.N. Packeer Ali took over the School.
Mrs. Packeer Ali is an English (Double Trained) Teacher with wide experience and knowledge. The School produced very good results at the Ordinary & Advanced Level Examinations. She encouraged students to take part in competitions of Literary Activities of other Schools. At the H.N.C.E. Examination that was held in .... eight students were selected out of fourteen who sat for the University admissions. They are; Deena Hussain, Raheema, Misiriya Raheem, Kokila Devi Selliah, Yesmin Mohideen, Raleena Ismail. After graduation Many of them are teachers at Amina where they had been the studets.
Year 1989 was a milestone in the history of Amina. On the retirement of Mrs. G.N. Packeer Ali, Mrs. Farooja Abdeen succeeded as the Principal. Her Administration of the School was unique. She was more a leader than the Boss (Principal). Every teacher was obliged to do their duties without coercion or compulsion. Her leadership geared the Scholl in every field of activities. Students performed very well at Public Examinations.
In 1995 the Police quarters opposite Amina Girls' School 11/2 Acres in extent, was secured for the school, through the efforts of Confederation of Matale Muslim Religious, Educational and Social Welfare Organization and th eHonourable Nandimithra Ekanayake, Member of Parliament, Matale District & Minister, Environment Protention and the District Organizer, Sri Lanka Freedom Party, Matale. Indeed the credit should go to Mrs. Abdeen for her relentless endeavour to secure this building for the school. In this regard, we owe our gratitudes to Deputy Minister, Public Administration & Plzntations, Hon. Monty Gopallawa and Hon. Janaka Bandara Tennekoon. Deputy Minister of Labour who extended their fullest co-operation to Marhoom M.H.M. Ashraff, Leader Sri Lanka Muslim Congress. The school is eternally indebted to Madam Chandrika Bandaranayake Kumaratunge, the then President of th eDemocratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka for being instrumental in donating the aforesaid land to this Institution.
Amina has seen tremendous growth during the past two decades, with many buildings, Laboratory and Computer Division. Every year the school has produced remarkable result at the Ordinary & Advanced Level Examinations. Many have gained admissions to Universities. there ...... teachers, Science, Home Science, Commerce, Art, English & Arabic teachers with ........ students attenting this school. The School comprises a fully fledged library as well, in addition to a superb play ground for girls. One remarkable aspect of this School is equal opportunity to every student, let her be a Muslim or non-Muslim. Students from various parts of the Island are learning here. The Principal of Amina Girls' National School, Matale is popularly known as "The Iron Lady" for her will power in achieving her mission and vision.