|Caribbean Islands Table of Contents
The education system in Antigua and Barbuda followed the British pattern and included public and private schools. Preprimary school was available for children from ages three to six. Primary education, compulsory for all children up to age twelve, was provided for five or six years. Secondary education, lasting four or five years, was offered upon the successful completion of a qualifying examination; private schools had their own qualifying examinations, while public schools used a standard test.
Postsecondary education was offered at the Antigua State College and at the local branch campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI). The Antigua State College offered a two-year program in five departments: teacher training, the advanced level in general education, commercial, engineering, and hotel and catering. Upon completion of the program, students took exams to earn certificates from external institutions, such as the UWI, Cambridge University, and the Royal Arts Society of London. Students attending the local branch campus of the UWI completed one year of studies and then continued their studies at another campus in Jamaica, Trinidad, or Barbados.
The 90-percent literacy rate indicated that the education system was reasonably successful in imparting basic skills. Despite this achievement, substantial problems remained in the late 1980s. Educational supplies and facilities were inadequate; in addition, there existed a high percentage of untrained teachers at all levels. These instructional deficiencies contributed to a national shortage of skilled labor.
In the 1980-81 school year, primary-school enrollment was 10,211 students, 78 percent of whom were in public schools. Of a total of 436 primary-school teachers, 82 percent were in the public system. Secondary schools had a total of 5,687 students and 321 teachers; 66 percent of the students and 71 percent of the teachers were in the public system. The state college consisted of 329 students; although most were from Antigua and Barbuda, some students also came from Anguilla, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Montserrat. The two special education schools had a combined enrollment of thirty-seven students, instructed by thirteen teachers.
Source: U.S. Library of Congress