YANGON: One of the prominent high schools of Yangon, B.E.H.S (1) Dagon, received Yangon Heritage Trust’s Blue Plaque on January 21, 2018.
Formerly known as Methodist English High School, the high school was originally founded in 1882 as Methodist Episcopal Girls School on Lewis Street (now Seik Kan Thar Street). The school was then moved to the current campus, which is at the corner of Lancaster Road (Nawaday Road) and Signal Pagoda Road (Ah Lan Pya Phaya Road). The school was primarily a three-storied Victorian style building, constructed on 3.03-acre campus.
It was then renamed into Methodist English Girls High School afterwards. Initially, male students were only accepted in the elementary level. During WWII, the school was closed down for almost 6 years, resulting the damages in the original school building. Furthermore, during the Japanese regime, this school building was used as the offices of Burmese Independence Army (BIA).
The damaged school buildings were repaired under the leadership of the Principal, Mrs. Doreen A Logie and reopened in May 1947. The students are mostly the children of wealthy families and high officials and they are under the supervision of Principal Mrs. Doreen Logie and native English speaking teachers. With the school’s motto of “Not for school but for life do we learn”, it became one of the best mission schools in Rangoon.
The number of students drastically increased in the year 1951 and the four-storied Kindergarten building was introduced in the following year to accommodate the students. His Excellency Sao Shwe Thaike, the President of the Union of Burma in February 1952, laid the foundation stone for the new building. The school was subsequently renamed as Methodist English High School (MEHS). It was nationalized in April 1965 and became BEHS (1) Dagon under the Ministry of Education.
New wings are added in 1986 and 1998. Currently, the school has 61 rooms with over 7,000 students attending in two shifts.
The founder and Chairman of Yangon Heritage Trust, Dr. Thant Myint U, said that “Yangon’s schools have an incredibly proud history. Many have produced statesmen, scholars, and public servants of national and international distinction. This is especially true of the Methodist English High School in Yangon.”
“Preserving these beautiful buildings is first and foremost about preserving a crucial link to Myanmar’s past and recognising the many generations of students and teachers that have contributed so much to Myanmar’s history. Yangon was a great centre of education. It can be that again,” he said.
The school has produced many scholars, public servants, businessmen, artists, celebrities, statesmen and leaders, including the President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, U Htin Kyaw and the State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.