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BCHS at 105 now on its own as Fort del Pilar, Hillside annexes gain independence

INDEPENDENCE DAY. The Fort del Pilar and Hillside Annexes of the Baguio City National High School had been granted independence from their mother school with President Rodrigo Duterte signing into law Republic Act Nos. 11623 and 11624. It will now allow the schools to accept more students from nearby barangays and can assure to provide quality education. Here a BCNHS – FDPA hosted National English Month at the school December last year. BCNHS – FDPA photo

The mother of public high schools in Baguio is now on her own like a grand old dame after two its youngest “children” left home recently.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law Republic Act Nos. 11623 and 11624 convertin the Fort del Pilar and Hillside Annexes of the Baguio City National High School into independent national high schools, recently.

That means that both schools now will have to get their respective budgets from the national government instead of the Cordillera’s oldest public high school, now at a ripe old age of 105, which has a sizeable 8,257 enrollees in 2019, the second biggest in the country.

In authoring the bills that are now laws, Baguio Rep. Mark Go, said that while the high school annexes were created to support BCNHS’s increasing student population, however, “limited staff and resources, these schools are under-equipped to cater to more students from surrounding neighborhoods without sacrificing the quality of instruction and learning.”

Go believes that the new laws will allow more youth in the city “to enjoy inclusive access to quality education,…”

The Fort del Pilar annex is home to 778 students under 29 teachers, while the Hillside annex has 230 students and nine teachers.

He added that with the two schools now independent, they will “cater to students from surrounding barangays so they can have access to a national high school and relieve its mother school from the burden of overpopulation.”

He said the school scan now accommodate more students from nearby barangays “and provide them with a conducive learning environment, with improved facilities and adequate student-teacher ratio.”

He said the conversion of the two schools “would also provide more efficient services by decentralizing leadership, management, and school supervision. It would also allow these former annexes to manage its maintenance and other operating expenses, as well as the establishment of its own plantilla positions as deemed necessary. “

He added: “improving the access and quality of basic education was imperative especially in Baguio City, as it continues to flourish as a technology, tourism and investment hub in Northern Luzon.”

Founded in 1916, BCHS, then Mountain Province High School provided education to children of the city’s original settlers and pioneers. Early graduates included the Palispis, the Carinos, the Bugnosens as well as the Buenos and the Paraans, among others.

A branch of the school in La Trinidad, an agricultural school in particular, became the Mountain State Agricultural College, and now the Benguet State University.

In 1973, due to the increasing population of the city, a BCHS annex was constructed at the Baguio Central School compound. The BCHS – Central became the Pines City National High School, which was also the first to gain independence and have its own annexes including the Quirino annex, now the Irisan National High School.

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