In 1901, the Philippine Commission by virtue of the Republic Act No. 74 installed a highly centralized public school system. The implementation of this act created a heavy shortage of teachers, which paved the way for the coming of 600 teachers from USA- the Thomasites.
On January 21, 1901, the Philippine Act No. 74 was passed. This was known as the Public School Law that paved the way for the establishment of a free public school system under the Department of Public Instruction. Under this act, the whole country was initially divided into 10 divisions.
On October 8, 1902, Act No. 477 was passed. It created the Bureau of Education that was headed by Director.
Under Executive Order No. 94, which was issued pursuant to the Reorganization Act of 1947, the Bureau of Education was renamed as the Bureau of Public Schools. Accordingly, the Department of Public Instruction was renamed as Department of Education.
Pursuant to P.D No.1 0f President Marcos, the department was again renamed as the Department of Education and Culture.
Under Article XIV of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, its name became the Department of Education, Culture and Sports. Now, it is simply the Department of Education or DepEd.
In the provincial arena, Rafael V. Guanzon in his book “Bacolod in Its Most Eventful Years (1920-1945), cited George W. Bettie as the first Division Superintendent of Schools for Negros Occidental.
In 1902, Superintendent Bettie, together with then Governor Melecio Severino and Minister of Justice Antonio Jayme helped establish the first public secondary school in Negros Occidental- the Instituto de Rizal, now famously known as the Negros Occidental High School.
Superintendent D’Artagnan Williams was the last American Division Superintendent of the province who was former principal of Negros Occidental High School. He succeeded Superintendent Ernest Shaftner who was killed in an accident during the annual athletic meet between the Negros Occidental High School and Siliman Institute in 1937.
Federico Piedad became the first Filipino Schools Division Superintendent of the province in 1939.
In its last 50 years of existence, the division had six “homes”. According to the recollection of Mr. Carlos Mijares, one of the division superintendents, in 1950’s , the division was situated along the corner of North Capitol Road and Gatuslao Street. Sometime in 1969, the office was temporarily situated at Marcos Montelibano Building in Negros Occidental High School. In 1974, the office was once again transferred to Paglaum Sports Complex along Hernaez Street and sometime in 1980’s, the office moved to the Provincial Administration Building where it stayed for more than a decade. However, in December of 1995, the office moved back at Paglaum Sports Complex, which served as its transition office while the present site was under construction. And finally in 1997, the division had its permanent home along Cottage Road where the present office is erected.
Initially, the present site is envisioned not only as a office but also as a place where trainings and/seminars could be conducted- hence the name “Division Training Center”.
Currently, the Division covers all 19 towns and 5 cities of Negros Occidental, with 39 school districts and 597 public elementary schools and 119 public secondary schools and an overall student of 315, 000.
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