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Schools & Education in Barbados

Barbados enjoys a high standard of education and is one of the highest in the Caribbean. Education is compulsory for children between the ages of 5 and 16. The educational programme  is administered by the Ministry of Education and is free for nationals in all government schools.

There are numerous Government Primary and Secondary schools as well as several privately run Primary schools. There are also a number of tertiary education institutions including The University of The West Indies and The Barbados Community College.

Stages of Education

  1. Nursery – Age 3 – 4
  2. Primary – Age 5 – 11+
  3. Secondary – Age 11 – 16
  4. Tertiary – 16+


Early childhood and Nursery Schools

Provision is made for the education of children from three years old at primary schools where there is physical space as well as the necessary facilities to deliver the curriculum.

Primary Schools

There are 80 primary schools in Barbados with an enrolment of approximately 26,627 pupils and about 1,559 teachers providing the quality education crucial to the further development of the country’s human resources.

At these schools, children are drawn from all social and economic backgrounds and benefit from a Government policy of providing school meals at low cost.

Secondary Schools

There are 21 Government co-educational schools and two single sex schools. There is currently an enrolment of approximately 20,435 students and some 1,304 teachers.

In addition, there are eight assisted private secondary schools with a student population of approximately 1,317 and approximately 97 teachers.

Both private and Government schools provide compulsory education. The literacy rate is currently 98%.

Special Schools

There are three special schools. One caters to children with visual and hearing impairments, the other two to the mentally challenged. Some students with special needs are incorporated into five primary schools.

Educational Testing

 Barbados Secondary School Entrance Examination

Children who are eleven years old but under twelve (12) years old at September 1st in the year of the examination, are required to write the examination as a means of allocation to secondary schools.

Caribbean Secondary Education Certification (CSEC)

The Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations are usually taken by students after five years of secondary school and mark the end of standard secondary education. The CSEC examinations are equivalent to the Ordinary Level (O-Levels) examinations.

Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE)

Caribbean Advance Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) is taken by students who have completed their secondary education and wish to continue their studies. Students who wish to sit for CAPE usually possess CSEC or an equivalent certification. The CAPE is equivalent to the British Advanced Levels (A- Levels).

Tertiary Education

University of the West Indies (Cave Hill Campus)

The University of The West Indies caters to students from the English-speaking Caribbean. It proudly welcomes students from around the world.

The university offers a multitude of undergraduate and graduate programs. The Faculty of Law is located in Barbados at the Cave Hill Campus.

The Barbados Community College

The Barbados Community College is a tertiary educational institution offering a wide range of programmes in academic, vocational and technical studies.

It has an associate degree programme and offers qualifications in areas pursued in the eight divisions at the college. A bachelor’s degree in fine arts and a bachelor’s degree in education are available.

Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic (SJPP)

The SJPP offers technical and vocational training in the disciplines of Building, Business Studies, Automotive and Welding, Human Ecology, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Agriculture.