Jamaican Education System: Primary to Tertiary Education in Jamaica

By: Denise N. Fyffe.
Copyright © 2012, Poetess Defy, Denise N. Fyffe

Jamaica is regarded around the world for its rich culture – especially its music, white sand beaches, friendly and highly educated people. The visitors that traverse its shores bring in millions of dollars making it a popular Caribbean destination. Being the third largest, English-speaking Caribbean country, it is populated with over 2.5 million people and like any other third world nation; it makes a great effort to provide the best education to its students, at all levels.

The Jamaican education system is structured into four main levels; namely early childhood, primary, secondary and tertiary education. Children up to age five access early childhood education through day care centres and basic or prep schools throughout the island. There are over three hundred thousand students in Jamaica’s primary schools, that range from grades one through to six. In secondary schools, students have the option of going to co-ed schools (both boys and girls) or boys only and girls only schools. They start from grades seven through to thirteen and complete two sets of major exams – one at grade eleven, and if they continue, one at grade thirteen – to move on to tertiary institutions or to the world of work. Tertiary education is accessed through universities, teachers’ colleges, and specialized institutions such as a College of Agriculture, Science and Education and Edna Manley College of Visual and Performance Arts. Through to adulthood, Jamaica provides institutions to offer quality education to its people.

The Jamaican education system is of great importance, to Jamaica’s government. Students who do exceptionally on their exams in primary school are granted scholarships for their high school education. The government recently subsidized the tuition for every child at the secondary level and exam fee in grade eleven. Millions of dollars are spent annually on back to school programs that aid students with tuition costs.

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