One of the oldest high schools in the country, Basic Education High School (BEHS) No. 6 Botataung, was built in 1860 and served as the top choice for children of the elites under its previous name, St. Paul’s High School.
Located directly north of the Secretariat building in Botataung township, this all-boys school was founded by the De La Salle Brothers, a Roman Catholic order, only eight years after the British seized Rangoon. At the time, children of the country’s British officers were known to attend the school along with wealthy Burmese, Anglo-Burmese and Anglo-Indians, for whom classes were taught science and higher mathematics in English. Special interest classes such as Painting, and Carpentry and Woodcarving were also offered.
In April 1965, when Gen. Ne Win’s military government nationalized private schools, the school was renamed to BEHS No. 6 Botataung and the primary language of instruction was changed to Burmese. The school’s reputation also began to suffer as students were asked to attend different institutions. Still, the school is still considered among the top high schools in Myanmar. Today, the school is used mainly by middle-class Burmese families living in the downtown area.
Compared to other schools in the area, the U-shaped three-story red brick colonial era-structure is of an impressive size with some of the finest facilities of any school in Myanmar, including ten classrooms in both its east and west wings, a regulation-size football pitch, a practice football pitch, two annex halls, a courtyard, volleyball court, two tennis courts/basketball court and a chemistry and physics laboratory. All told, the school covers 75 percent of a city block, with St. Mary’s Cathedral to the north occupying the other 25 percent.