Education and Schools System in Jamaica


Early Childhood Education


Early childhood education is concerned with the development of children up to age five. The institutions involved are day care centres, basic and infant schools and infant departments in primary and all-age schools. A community-based sponsoring body manages basic schools, and the Government’s contribution is in the form of a subsidy – salary, nutrition and class material.


Primary Education


Primary education is offered to children in grades one to six of primary and all-age schools. The educational offering at the primary level lays the foundation for the acquisition of knowledge, skills and values for total development and continuing education. It is expected that each student within this age group should be equipped with the following characteristic by the end of grade six:

    • Literacy and numeracy by global standards
    • Competence in pre-requisite knowledge and skills to access secondary education.
    • Possession of a caring attitude towards self, others and things.


Secondary Education


Secondary education (High Schools) is aimed at producing graduates with adequate training to qualify them to admission to tertiary institutions or for gainful employment. The focus of the programme is to improve the quality, efficiency and relevance of the curricula. The main performance indicator at the secondary level for the quality of graduates is the level of success in external examinations at GCE `O’ and ‘A’ levels (British), and the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC).


Tertiary Education


Tertiary education is offered in the following Government-funded institutions:

    • The University of the West Indies
    • The University of Technology
    • Six Teacher Training Colleges
    • Seven Multi-disciplinary colleges
    • The College of Agriculture, Science and Education
    • Edna Manley College of Visual and Performance Arts



Tertiary education provides the opportunity for the acquisition of the knowledge and skills required for professional competence in various fields of endeavour. Assistance to students includes the provision of scholarships, boarding grants and tuition fees.

Multi-disciplinary colleges provide a broad programme of continuing education to satisfy individual, as well as the manpower, needs of the society. The colleges now offer preliminary university and teacher training courses. The institutions falling within this grouping are EXED, Brown’s Town, Knox, Portmore, Montego Bay, Moneague and Bethlehem Community Colleges


The University Council of Jamaica functions as an accreditation, awards and academic development body for degree, diploma and certificate programmes, proposed and developed at approved tertiary institutions. The organisations aims to:

    1. Encourage foreign institutions and local counterparts to apply for registration and subsequent accreditation of programmes
    2. Design and establish an academic transfer system to facilitate mobility of students between tertiary institutions
    3. Determine equivalence of qualification
    4. maintain contacts with quality assurance bodies worldwide and International Advisory Groups (IAG)


Technical/Vocational Education


Technical/Vocational education is offered to students at grades seven to eleven, in the areas of art and craft, agriculture, business, home economics and industrial arts.


This area provides students with the skills, knowledge and attitude which qualify them for job employment or entry into tertiary institutions. In addition to the schools identified under this programme, Technical/Vocational education is offered in some high and comprehensive high schools


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