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The oldest still existing school in Asia can be found in Cebu and was founded in 1595.

The earliest schools in Asia were established during the 16th century at the time of the Spanish colonial period. The schools were founded by Spanish Catholic missionaries who sought to spread education and of course the knowledge of Jesus Christ.  

In the 1560’s, the Spanish started colonizing almost each of the islands in the Philippines, and by the 1590’s the country was run mostly by Spanish friars.

In 1 August 1595, Fr. Antonio Sedeno, Fr. Pedro Chirino, and Antonio Pereira (of the Society of Jesus) established a grammar school attached to the Jesuit residence in Cebu City. That school was called the Colegio de San Ildefonso. It was closed not soon after, however, at the expulsion of the Jesuits. With the initiative of the Bishop Mateo Joaquin de Arevalo, he renamed the school to Colegio de San Carlos.

If that name sounds familiar, that’s because Colegio de San Carlos went on to become a university in 1948 and is now called the University of San Carlos since then.

So by August this year, the University of San Carlos will be 422 years old!

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