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Structure of Education in Barbados

School Education Structure

The Barbados Governments bears the educational cost of Students at the primary, and secondary levels. This also is inclusive of the textbooks provisions. This strong emphasis on the importance of education has resulted in attaining almost 98% literacy rate, which is one of the highest literacy rate in the world.

Primary education begins at age 4 and it continues till age 11. Then the students sit for common entrance examination. There are more than 83 Government primary schools.

Secondary education is between ages 11 – 18 years. At the age of 16 the students site for CXC (Caribbean Examination Council examinations. This is equal to GCE O Levels. At around 18 years of age students who are in schools can appear for Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Certificate (A-Level). This exam is also set by the CXC. Most government secondary schools are co – educational. Just like primary schools, there are 8 privately run secondary schools too in the country.

The main subjects constitute of English, Spanish, Mathematics, Science, Art and Craft, Music, History, Geography, Social Studies, Health and Family Life Education, Physical Education, Agriculture, Computer education, Religious studies, etc.

Primary & Secondary Education Age Table

 School Level Grade From Grade To Age From Age To Total
 Primary Primary School 5 11  
 Secondary CSEC (Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate) Examinations   11 16
 Post-secondary CXC Caribbean Advanced Placement Examination (CAPE)   17 
 Tertiary College / University    


Higher Education Structure

The higher education system denotes to students opting for vocational and professional education in the Barbados system of education. Popular and also important institutions include The University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic, Erdiston Teacher’s College, Barbados Community College.

The Colleges provide a range of programs in academic, vocational and technical areas and offers a number of Associate Degree programs. Various categories of subjects in the colleges are –
  • Fine arts
  • Science, technology
  • Liberal arts
  • Health sciences

The University of the West Indies

This University is also known as UWI – University of West Indies. It is present across the Caribbean - Cave Hill (Barbados), St. Augustine (Trinidad) and Mona (Jamaica) in three campuses. It offers quite a few under graduate and post graduate courses and degrees. It offers diplomas, degrees and certificates broadly in subjects like -
The UWI offers very high educational standards and high quality research facilities. This has helped in attracting most bright and potential students from Caribbean and near by countries even. The University has gained its reputation over the years through fantastic academic performances of its students. The governing body has also fostered strong associations and partnerships with universities in the U.K., U.S.A, and Canada, including Oxford, John Hopkins and McGill.

The role of the Barbados Government has been commendable in forging a modern and productive means of study in the higher education institutes, colleges and University. Like in case of school education, their role has been to constantly upgrade courses and available facilities within the system. The level of education imparted has played a major role in attracting foreign talents, both teachers and students in equal numbers. Over the years the country has established itself as an important hub of graduate and postgraduate education in the area.
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