In 1863, Queen Isabel II of Spain decreed the establishment of a public school system, following the requests of the Spanish authorities in the islands, who saw the need of teaching Spanish to the wider population. The primary instruction and the teaching of the Spanish language was compulsory. The Educational Decree provided for the establishment of at least one primary school for boys and girls in each town and governed by the municipal government. Normal school for male teachers was established and was supervised by the Jesuits.   In 1866, the total population of the Philippines was only 4,411,261. The total public schools was 841 for boys and 833 for girls and the total number of children attending these schools was 135,098 boys and 95,260 girls. In 1892, the number of schools had increased to 2,137, 1,087 of which were for boys and 1,050 for girls.  This measure was at the vanguard of contemporary Asian countries, and led to an important class of educated natives which sometimes followed their studies abroad, like national hero José Rizal , who studied in Europe. This class of writers, poets and intellectuals is often referred to as Ilustrados . Ironically, it was during the initial years of American occupation in the early 20th century, that Spanish literature and press flourished. This was the result both of a majority of Spanish-speaking population, as well as the partial freedom of the press which the American rulers allowed.