Education institutions in Colombo have a long history. Colombo has many of the prominent public schools in the country, some of them government owned and others private.
Most of the prominent schools in the city date back to the 1800s when they were established during the British colonial rule, such as the Royal College Colombo (1835). Certain urban schools of Sri Lanka have some religious alignment, this is partly due to the influence of British who established Christian missionary schools, these include the Anglican, Bishop's College(1875); the Buddhist, Ananda College (1886); the Muslim, Zahira College (1892); the Catholic, St. Joseph's College (1896). These religious alignments do not affect the curriculum of the school except for the demographics of the student population.
Higher education in the city has a long history, beginning with the establishment of the Colombo Medical College (1870), the Colombo Law College (1875), School of Agriculture (1884) and the Government Technical College (1893). The first step in the creation of a University in Colombo was taken in 1913 with the establishment of the University College Colombo which prepared students for the external examinations of the University of London, this was followed by the establishment of the University of Ceylon in Colombo. Today the University of Colombo and the University of the Visual & Performing Arts are state universities in the city. The Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology also has a metropolitan campus in the centre of the city. There are several private higher education institutions within the city.