Primary & Secondary Education

The Barbados Government pays the cost of education of Barbadian students at primary, secondary and tertiary levels, this includes provision of textbooks. This strong emphasis on education has resulted in a literacy rate estimated at about 98% - one of the highest in the world.

Primary education begins at age 4 and continues until age 11, when students sit the Common Entrance Examination. There are 74 Government primary schools, as well as several privately-run primary schools.

Secondary education is provided for children aged 11 to 18 years. At age 15/16, students sit the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) examinations - the equivalent of GCE O-Levels. At about age 17/18, those students who continue at school can sit the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Certificate (A-Level) also set by CXC. Most Government secondary schools (of which there are 23) are co-educational. There are also several private secondary schools.

Tertiary Education

Tertiary education is provided at the following institutions:

Erdiston Teachers' College

This College, opened in 1948, is co-educational and provides training for non-graduate and graduate teachers.

Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic

This Polytechnic provides day and night courses and programmes in fields such as electrical, building and engineering trades, commerce, agriculture and garments.

Barbados Community College

The Barbados Community College provides a range of programmes in academic, vocational and technical areas and offers a number of Associate Degree programmes. Divisions of the college include: fine arts, liberal arts, science, technology, health sciences and hospitality studies.

The University of the West Indies

The University of the West Indies (UWI) comprises three campuses spread across the Caribbean - Cave Hill ( Barbados ), St. Augustine (Trinidad) and Mona ( Jamaica ). The University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, diplomas and certificates in areas such as the humanities, science and technology, computer science, engineering, education, medicine, law and agriculture.

Because of its high educational standards and quality research, the UWI has been able to attract some of the brightest students from the Caribbean and beyond, and it maintains strong partnerships with universities in the U.K. , U.S.A, and Canada , including Oxford , John Hopkins and McGill.

Private Schools

Barbados offers a number of private schools at both the primary (ages 3-11) and secondary levels (ages 11-16).

Primary Schools

St.Gabriel's School  

Wills Primary School

Ursuline Convent (Run by Roman Catholic nuns)

St.Winifred's School

Providence Elementary School

Codrington School (International Baccaulaureate Program)

The  Rock Christian School  ( Non- demoninational )



Secondary Schools

Ursuline Convent (Run by Roman Catholic Nuns) Girls Only At This Level

St.Winifred's School (Formally girls only. Boys admitted from Sept 2008)

Codrington School (International Baccalaureate Program)

Dottin's Academy (All male), website: 


 Books are included but with a rental fee at the secondary school level.  Please note that that does not mean that all books are of good quality and standard. (People have been known to refuse the books given due to the bad state of disrepair that theses books are in). All in all the book quality is  adequate, and should  be seen as  a refection of  careless handling by students.

Providence Academy is a new Primary School located on the grounds of the old Francia Plantation in St. George.  This school was created by Eugene Melnyk of Canada and follows, by law, the Barbados Ministry of Education requirements for primary schools.

There is technically no "home schooling" in Barbados.  By law all children from age 4 should be in a school.   There have been exceptions but they are few and far between.  Learning for Life is considered a home-school option but not in the true home-school way.  Children can take 1 or more classes in an afterschool or in place of school setting.

What is not said is that while the island boasts a 98pct literacy rate, the pressure placed on primary school children at the age of 11 to pass an exam that will then place them in the secondary school system is huge.  This system should be done away with, unfortunately not all the secondary schools on the island are created equal and those who do not have the quality of teachers are always going to be at a disadvantage.  

There is very little or no provision made by the Ministry of Education in Barbados for those students who suffer from various forms of learning disabilities.  While students who are severly impaired are looked after, those children who suffer from Dyslexia, ADD, ADHD are simply stepped around many primary and secondary schools. The Dyslexia Centre, a private venture,  offers guidance, private tuition and teacher training seminars focused on addressing these difficulties.