USC Basic Education Department South Campus
(formerly USC Girls High School/USC South Grade school)

The oldest city in the Philippines is Cebu City, the site of the earliest European settlement in the country established by the Spanish conqueror Miguel Lopez de Legazpi in 1565. It was here that the oldest school in the country emerged – the University of San Carlos (USC). During all these 414 years, the institution has lived and developed through many changes in the administration and in the school population. From the exclusive Seminary, it was transformed into a modern university for men and women.

Founded by Spanish Jesuits Fr. Antonio Sedeno, Fr. Pedro Cherino and Fr. Antonio Periera on August 1, 1595, USC was formerly known as the Colegio de San Ildefonso. It was located at Calle Martires (now M.J. Cuenco Avenue). In 1769, it was closed upon the expulsion of the Jesuits from the Philippines. It re-opened in 1783 along Martires Street upon the initiative of Bishop Mateo Joaquin de Arevalo under the name Colegio-Seminario de San Carlos, named after Saint Charles Borromeo, the great patron of ecclesiastical training in the Renaissance. In 1867, the Vincentians took over the administration of the Colegio de San Carlos.

In 1930, the Colegio de San Carlos (CSC) was transferred to the new P.del Rosario building, while the Seminario de San Carlos remained at Martires Street. Five years after, in 1935, the Colegio was turned over to the Society of the Divine Word (SVD – Societas Verbi Divini) that has ably administered the school for eighty years now. Although college courses were offered in 1934, and women were admitted in 1940, the high school department remained exclusively for girls.

The Second World War saw the closure and occupation of CSC by Japanese troops. And shortly before liberation, in 1944, bombs from US planes fell on Colegio de San Carlos, almost reducing the school to rubbles. Undauntedly, the Colegio was re-opened in June 1945 by SVD Fathers Josef Jaschik and Ernest Hoerdemann. Three years after it re-opened, it became a university on July 1, 1948.

The Elementary Department of the University of San Carlos was established in 1947. The co-educational elementary and high school departments initially served as training departments for Junior Normal and Education students (later renamed Teacher’s College) Originally, it was housed at the Cebu Cathedral Convent and the Little Flower Academy on Mabini Street, about a kilometer away from the mother school at P. del Rosario. It was then named Colegio de San Carlos Elementary Training Department. A few years later, it was transferred near the mother school along P. del Rosario Street.

To afford adolescent students a thorough Catholic training and an education fitting the feminine character, the first Girls’ High School was opened in 1949 at the corner building of Jones Avenue and P. del Rosario Streets.

To accommodate the growing population in 1949, the Elementary and High School Departments of the Girls High School were transferred to its present site at P. del Rosario Extension (now J. Alcantara St.). The five-storey building was erected with the help of the German people through the Zentzaestellefur Entwicklungshilfe (National Agency for Development Aid).

From its establishment in 1947 until 1955, the elementary training department was managed by laymen. However, its management was assumed in 1957 by the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Spirit (SSpS- Serva Spiritu Sancti), a sister congregation of the SVD. The department was under the helm of the SSpS Sisters for 35 years. In 1992, the congregation ceased to run the school. The principalship of the high school was handed over to a lay person; the elementary was assigned to a sister from the Order of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration (OSF) who eventually passed it on to a lay person.

In 1982, both departments had their first formal accreditation by the Philippine Accrediting Association of Colleges and Universities (PAASCU) under the supervision of Sr. Michelinde Saavedra, SSpS, for the High School Department, and Sr. Celerina Luz, SSpS, for the Grade School Department. In 1985 the two departments were granted PAASCU reaccreditation. Again in 1991, both departments were formally and separately accredited by PAASCU. Since then, they were granted five – year re-accreditation status after each visit.

The school year 2004-2005 paved the way for other developments. The Grade School and the High School departments merged into one department and renamed as USC Basic Education Department South Campus headed by one principal, Mrs. Corazon Sasing. In September 2004, the administration initiated a University-wide revisit of the University Vision and Mission Statements. This was done to adapt to the challenges of the rapidly changing world and to allow the Spirituality and Charism of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) to permeate the school system. Changes in the University Vision, Mission and Goals permeated the Basic Education Departments.

The new Vision and Mission Statements spell out the CORE VALUES of the University such as Integrity, Excellence, Commitment, Social Responsibility, Evangelization and Leadership culminating in the motto: WITNESS TO THE WORD.

Along with refocusing the Vision Statements, the then exclusively Girls High School shifted to become a co-educational Institution. The following school year the high school department started accepting boys in the first and second years. Grade six boys already enrolled in the elementary department were given admission priority in the high school department. These boys, together with other boys from other schools, formed part of the initial batch of boys interacting with the girls. The Montessori Academy of the College of Education also merged with the department during the same school year. The department coordinates with the Teachers College, now known as the School of Education in the Teacher Education Program.

The school year 2008-2009 paved the way for the newest challenge for the University in general and the Basic Education Department in particular as the phrase “WITNESS TO THE WORD” is identified to be not just the school motto or identity but as its Corporate Social Responsibility.

To respond to this need in the area of administration, the office of the Assistant Principal was created during the second semester of School Year 2008-2009 in preparation for its PAASCU revisit. Likewise, it was also historical for the department because the Federation of Accrediting Agencies of the Philippines (FAAP) has granted a LEVEL II Re-Accredited Status to the Integrated Basic Education Program of the Department.

The administration of the Basic Education Department South Campus reverted to the Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit (SSpS) in 2009 with Sr. Remedios Socorro Aunzo, SSpS, as the Principal. In School Year 2014-2015, the school administration was turned over to Dr. Lelet Bautista as lay principal.

With the advent of the K-12 curriculum, innovations were introduced. The Office of the Basic Education Director was created in Schoold Year 2012-2013 with Fr. Felino Javines, Jr., SVD, DM as Director.

Moreover, the Department has taken a leap and started offering Grades 11-12 Pre-Mechanical Engineering courses prior to its full implementation in 2016 with its first batch of graduates in 2014. By School Year 2014-2015, three additional courses were offered, namely Associate in Information Technology, Associate in Electro Mechanics Technology, and Associate in Hotel and Restaurant Service.

The USC BED South Campus remains a steadfast institution, true to its noble mission, the juxtaposition of Scientia, Virtus and Devotio.