“Baguio has changed,” so they say. For someone who spends only a few months to at most a year in the city, there are probably no other observations apart from the usual, “There’s a new bar in Legarda Street” or “The restaurant I frequently go to in Session Road already closed”. It is true that the city has changed in a lot of ways. Nowadays, the streets are more crowded with cars and public transport, you see more people going up and down Session Road, and it becomes harder to choose which shop or restaurant to go to. Since Baguio is a tourist destination, this should be a natural occurrence.
Most of the time though, you see more young people around – those who almost jauntily skip in the sidewalks with their backpacks, books in hand, talking about how their professor during Anthropology class was not in a very good mood; and those who seriously pore over books and readings at coffee shops or at McDonald’s. Moreover, you also see groups of Koreans, Japanese, Africans, and Arabs in university uniforms – those who go crazy over Jollibee’s Chicken Joy and those who naturally say “Para!” to halt the jeepney to a stop. Indeed, as the years passed, Baguio has not only become a tourist destination but has also become a home to a massive number of “transient residents”, also known as students.
BAGUIO SCHOOLS FOR TERTIARY EDUCATION
At present, Baguio has over 100 schools for pre-school, elementary, high school, and tertiary education, as well as vocational courses. There are already around 43 public schools for elementary and high school, 18 universities and colleges, 16 international schools, and 37 vocational schools. Private schools with pre-school, elementary and high school or those that offer only one or two of these levels are already around 59. Day care centers in barangays are all over the city as well.
Based on surveys, there has been a continuous increase in student population every year. According to a census done in 2010, the total population of Baguio was 318,676. During this time, the student population for all levels reached to around 138,000, wherein 42% of this number was comprised of university students. Since the trend has not waned yet, Baguio has been maintaining this number of students every year and is even anticipating a possible increase.
Apart from the obvious fact that the number of schools in the city has multiplied in the past years, many students flock to Baguio for tertiary education because of the prominent schools that have been providing quality and competitive curricular programs for years. Some of the oldest schools and universities in the history of Philippine education can also be found here.
It was in 1906 that the Easter College was formed by Anglican missionaries. This was the first private school in Baguio that started by teaching Anglican faith and promoting education to eight local boys. In 1909, right after Baguio was given its charter, Brent International School was established by the same founder of the Easter College. This is one of the first international schools in the Philippines that happened to be ideally built in Baguio as a boarding school. And in 1911, a small school for 10 local boys was created by Catholic missionaries and was later called Saint Louis University. Apart from the schools established by missionaries, the Philippine Military Academy, the training school for the officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines was transferred to Baguio from Intramuros, Manila in 1908. Many other schools were established thereafter.
The University of the Philippines, the country’s prime university, has also transferred one of its colleges to Baguio in 1938. Despite the bombing of its campus during the war, the college was able to rebuild a campus in its current location to become an autonomous unit of the university system in 1961. Later in 2002, the Baguio campus earned its status as a constituent university, specializing in Cordillera studies and research.
After World War II, two of the biggest universities in Baguio were established. In 1946, the University of the Cordilleras, then called Baguio Colleges Foundation, was instituted. It is now a home to 13,000-14,000 students in elementary, high school and tertiary levels. And in 1948, the University of Baguio was founded by one of the powerful families in the city. It has now 13 buildings and can accommodate 15,000-20,000 students a year. It has elementary, high school, and tertiary levels as well.
Tracing all these back to Baguio’s history, it is apparent that these universities were born from the primary goal of Christian and Catholic missionaries to introduce their religion to the natives of the Cordilleras. Eventually, a good number of non-sectarian universities have also crowded the city, joining the Christian and Catholic schools.