Brief History of Education in Batanes


The formal establishment of church and civil government in the islands of Batanes on June 26, 1783 paved the way for a new beginning in the lives of the Ivatans. The Dominican missionaries who first came to the islands had the primordial concern of spreading the Catholic Faith. However, the language barrier between the missionaries and the locals was inevitable. The Spaniards had no choice but to learn the local language. As the evangelization process was spreading to the different towns schools were established by the Spaniards focusing on the 4R’s- religion, reading, riting and rithmetic in Spanish.

The 115 years Spanish rule in Batanes ended when Governor Don Julian Fortea-the last Spanish governor was killed in a gun battle with the Katipuneros on the night of September 18, 1898. After a short government interlude by the Katipuneros, the Americans established their rule over the islands in 1899. However, since the Americans cannot immediately establish a government in the islands, Batanes was made a part of Cagayan. In 1908, Mr. Otto Scheerer was appointed as the first governor of the province under the American regime. The following year in 1909, Batanes regained its identity as a province. Among the major accomplishment of Mr. Scheerer during his term was the improvement of sanitation facilities and the opening and establishment of schools in all the towns.

In 1911, the first formal school was established in Basco- now the Basco Central School offering Grade I. Since there were no local teachers who could teach in English, the government retrained some of the teachers during the Spanish time with English as medium of instruction. In the succeeding years, grades II to IV were opened.

With the increasing number of enrolees in Basco and in the other towns, there was a need to acquire school sites to build schools. On May 8, 1912, two school sites were surveyed. The first site is at present the Provincial Athletic Field which includes, the Division Office, DPWH & BATANELCO. The other site is where the Basco Central School & Batanes National Science High School are situated. To make this sites officially recognized, Governor Genral Francis Burton Harrizon signed Executive Order 41, on June 29, 1916 declaring these two sites for educational purposes.

As the schools were established in the six towns of Basco, Mahatao, Ivana, Uyugan, Sabtang and Itbayat, there was a need for someone to oversee the school system in the province. In July 1914, Mauricio Lazo, became the first Head Teacher to manage the schools in Batanes.

The first batch of enrolees in the primary grades in Basco finished Grade IV in 1915. In the same year, the Intermediate school was opened for Grade V, and the succeeding years Grades VI & VII. To sustain the continuity of education in the province, the first secondary school was established in June 1917-the Batanes High School, now Batanes National Science High School.

At present, the Schools Division of Batanes is compose of 6 Secondary High Schools, two of which are vocational schools-the Itbayat National Agricultural High in Itbayat and Sabtang National school of Fisheries, 2 Integrated Schools and 19 Elementary schools. There is no town, Barrio or Sitio without a school in the province.

From 1914 to this date, the Division has been ably managed by 32 capable Head Teachers and Superintendents coming from different provinces. Of the 32 Head Teachers /Superintendents 7 come from Batanes. At present the Schools Division of Batanes is headed by Reynante Z. Caliguiran, Ph.D, CESE, OIC SDS from Isabela and Rachel R. Llana, PhD. CESE OIC ASDS also from the Province of Isabela. Under the Rationalization Plan, two functional divisions have been created- the Curriculum Implementation Division(CID) headed by Mrs. Georgann G. Cariaso with 10 Education Program Supervisors, 1 Senior Education Program Specialist & 1 Project Development Officer, and the School Governance and Operations Division(SGOD) headed by Mr. Jaime G. Castillo with 2 Senior Education Program Specialists, 2 Education Program Specialists, 1 Planning Officer, 1 Project Development Officer, 1 Medical Officer III, 1 Dentist II, 8 Nurses and 2 support staff. The Administrative Staff is compose of 2 Administrative Officer V, 2 Administrative IV, 1 Accountant and 10 support staff.

At present, the secondary schools is manned by 6 Principals & 240 teachers and non-teaching personnel with 2076 Junior & Senior High school students, while the elementary schools is manned by 13 Principals, 2 Head Teacher, 307 teaching and non-teaching personnel with 2,294 learners from Kinder to Grade VI.

Through the leadership of the School Superintendents and school managers, the Schools Division of Batanes have consistently and effectively implemented DepEd programs both in curricular and co-curricular activities.
DepEd receives strong support from LGUs
By: Miah Daphnie B. Buenafe

“The education of the Ivatan youth is not only the responsibility of the teachers. The education of the Ivatan school children is everyone’s responsibility.”

These were the words of the OIC- Schools Division Superintendent, Dr. Reynante Z. Caliguiran during the division kick-off of Brigada Eskwela (BE) at Batanes National Science High School (BNSHS) on May 28.

According to the superintendent, it takes a village to educate a child and the presence of parents, local government officials and stakeholders is a manifestation of their willingness to support in the preparation of schools that will be conducive and safe to learning and that will give the strongest foundation for personality development of every Ivatan youth.

Meanwhile, the provincial governor of Batanes, Hon. Marilou H. Cayco expressed her pleasure in everyone’s cooperation and volunteerism to the Department of Education (DepEd) displayed in BE.

“Gusto kong magpasalamat sa lahat ng mga magulang, estudyante at sa lahat ng mga pribadong sektor na nagkusang mag alay ng oras at suporta para mapangalagaan ang ating mga paaralan, Governor Cayco stated.

She expressed that the spirit of volunteerism is not new to the Ivatans since Ivatans are known in helping their co-Ivatans without expecting anything in return or the culture of Payuhwan.

“Ngayong araw, muli na naman nating buhayin ang diwa ng payuhwan sa pagbubukas ng BE para iangat at pagandahin ang pangalawang tahanan ng ating mga anak,” Governor Cayco said.

The governor added that all employees of the Provincial Government Unit (PGU) will be joining and helping in the schools in their community on June 1 as sign of their support to the program of DepEd.

The Local Government Unit of Basco (LGU-Basco) through their Vice Mayor, Hon. German A. Caccam also expressed their full commitment and involvement in the activities for BE.

The division launching of BE started with a motorcade within the town of Basco participated by the Philippine National Police (PNP) of Basco, local executive officials, parents, stakeholders, teachers, and division personnel.

BE is the National Schools Maintenance Week which aims to bring together all education stakeholders to participate and contribute their time, effort, and resources to prepare public school facilities for the opening of the school year.

DepEd Batanes | The official website of DepEd - Batanes