There used to be one school division of the Province. The original school division with official headquarters at Lingayen was originally created by Act. No. 74 of the 2nd Philippine Commission, the law-making body of the government during the early years of the American regime. The law (Act. No. 74) has been called the organic law of the Philippine Educational System as it officially enacted the creation of the Department of Public Instruction, now the Department of Education. Worth remembering was the fact that this law was first circularized by the Department of Public Instruction on August 1, 1901 identifying Pangasinan as one of the ten school divisions throughout the country and specifying Lingayen Pangasinan as its official station.
Very few could have then known that Pangasinan was a part of a school division, then composed of three adjacent Provinces with Tarlac and Zambalez as the other two. The division in Ilocos Sur with headquarters at Vigan was composed of Ilocos Sur, La Union, Lepanto and Benguet and the Division in Ilocos Norte with Laoag as its headquarters consisted of the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Abra and Bontoc. Worth remembering were the first schools division Superintendents in Region I. For the division Superintendent stationed in Lingayen, Pangasinan was Mr. S. C. Newsom; the Superintendent assigned in Vigan, Ilocos Sur was Mr. Jesse George; and for Laoag, Ilocos Norte, Mr. J. M. Kniseley. The appointments of the School Superintendents were circularized throughout the Philippines including those assigned to Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte on October 1, 1901, a sequel to a circular passed on August 1, 1901 officially circularizing Act. No. 74 and formally creating ten school Divisions throughout the country.
From 1901 to the year 1987, Pangasinan Division II as one separate school division had not been in the books nor annual reports of school heads and district supervisors in Pangasinan and the rest of the 4th, 5th and 6th congressional districts of the Province. The birth of the school division now in its early adolescent stage, as compared to its counterpart with headquarters at Lingayen, Pangasinan was dictated by an administrative necessity between the years 1986 to the early months of 1988. There were confusions on the use of the actual but vacated item numbers of teachers resulting in the appointment of more teachers than what were actually declared and found vacant. The then DepEd Regional Director Gloria Z. Lasam temporarily took-over the signing of all appointments of school-related appointments of teaching and non-teaching personnel to stop any attempt at tampering or manipulating unchecked and unverified items of teachers/school personnel against the original list of personnel item-numbers issued by the DepEd and likewise confirmed by the Department of Budget and Management. At the same time that the then Regional Director was in charge of signing all school related appointments she recommended for the administrative partitioning of the Division into two: Pangasinan Division II with official station at Binalonan, Pangasinan, the other Division at Lingayen. The then Secretary Isidro Cariño gave the official imprimatur by initiating the separation of the School Division Personnel with two sets of payrolls and plantillas. All school districts belonging to the 4th, 5th and 6th Congressional Districts would go to Pangasinan Division II, except the city of Dagupan which was not administratively included and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Districts, except the City of San Carlos as belonging the other school Division. During the creation of the then new school division, the new present city of Urdaneta was not yet declared a city and so it belonged to Pangasinan Division II.
The first school division superintendent was Dr. Nicanor Salazar of Urdaneta City followed by Dr. Juliana B. Laoag and succeeded by Atty. Armando M. Aquino. It was during Dr. Salazars time that the new school division became for the first time a regional champion of the annual regional athletic competition of all public and private school elementary and secondary school pupils and students of Region I. Dr. Laoag’s Superintendency saw improvements in school supervision and even in athletics. Atty. Aquino’s time marked Pangasinan Division II’s elementary schools being top 2 to 10th placer in two successive and annually DepEd-Administered national achievement test (NAT). The school division during his term put up with the assistance of then Congressman Mark Cojuangco and then Mayor Ramon N. Guico, Jr, the first Library Hub in Region I which was declared in the ensuing school year 2009-2010 as the 2nd most outstanding Library Hub in the country. The 4th division Superintendent is Dr. Luzviminda Raguindin whose rein of the division is also marked with scores of achievements of the students in athletics, academic competition and the spirit of oneness of the school teachers, school administrators and the community stakeholders.
In two successive Regional athletic competitions, Pangasinan Division II brought home the beacon and represented the region in the ensuing Palarong Pambansa, a feat seldom surpassed by the other school divisions except that of Ilocos Norte.
In tertiary education which draws major supply of enrollments from the more than 106 public secondary schools of the division stretching from Bautista, Pangasinan to Municipalities of Balungao and Umingan from the east and San Fabian to Sto Tomas from the north to south-central, Pangasinan not to mention the several private secondary schools of the school division located in every municipality. The division has at least three public universities, one is state owned (PSU) and the other two LGU-financed following the concept of a town university of the American rural/county operated universities. The one situated in Urdaneta City – the Urdaneta Community University – wholly finances its own budgetary needs and still has annual excess money which is likewise given to the city treasurer. The other is the University of Eastern Pangasinan which is financed in its requirements by the municipality of Binalonan. There is another privately-owned university in Urdaneta City, the PUNP, a situation which augers well for the rapid economic growth of Eastern Pangasinan not to mention the municipality of Tayug as another commercial hub of the eastern part of the Province.
The Pangasinan Division II has an enrolment of 154,674 pupils located in 462 individual elementary schools found in 32 school districts with a compliments of 5,381 elementary grades teachers and 430 school heads and 71,832 public secondary school students in 117 secondary schools handled by 2,770 secondary school teachers and 106 secondary school principals.
Unknown to many school personnel of the two divisions, was that from 1901 to 2008, the financial accounts of the two divisions was only one. Annually the budget for the two division was also unified. But the problem was put across the attention in 2007 of then Secretary of Education Jesli Lapus who instituted the corrections in the annual congressional hearing of the budgets of the different departments to budgetary accounts were then assigned to the two divisions resulting in the separation of the budgets annually of the aforementioned divisions.
The school division has full compliments of qualified efficient and hard-working staff harmoniously working under the stewardship of Dr. Viraluz S. Raguindin.
References:Dizon, Amado C., Law and Education (Manila, Rex Bookstore) 1992Bureau of Public Schools, Annual School Reports 1902 – 1905 (Department of Education) Manila: Bureau of Printing, Reprinted 1955