EDUCATION SYSTEM

 

PROFILE OF THE EDUCATION SYSTEM IN SAINT LUCIA

Saint Lucia's Educational System may be said to be designed to provide opportunities for the training of the island's citizens in those skills which are essential to their personal development and that of the country, irrespective of economic or other circumstances.

The administration of the formal education system in Saint Lucia is run almost entirely by the State through the Ministry of Education, Culture and Labor. All educational institutions falling under the administration of the Ministry are non-fee paying.

The stipulated compulsory school age in Saint Lucia is 5-15 years. In 1994/95 there
were 150 Pre-schools, 85 Primary Schools and 15 Secondary Schools. 1 School for the Blind,   1 school for the Deaf, 1 School for the physically and mentally challenged; 1 Special Education Centre in the South.

There are also within the state, four (4) privately administered primary schools, two (2) private secondary schools, and five (5) private secretarial schools. All pre-school centers are privately owned and administered.

The structure of the formal educational system is defined in terms of levels, ages, grades, and administrative units as follows: Pre-school (below age 5), Infant (ages 5-7), Primary (ages 8-15), Secondary (ages 12-17), Post-secondary and Post Compulsory School age (17+).

PRE SCHOOL EDUCATION

Pre-school education is generally provided for children between the ages of 2 to 5 years. PRIMARY EDUCATION: This level of education is divided into three stages: (I) Infants; (ii) Junior Primary and (iii) Senior Primary. The infant level incorporates the first three grades of public schooling. The junior department includes grades four, five, six and seven, and the senior division caters for grades eight, nine and ten.

Promotion is by age and by grade level. Promotion from primary to secondary is by age, grade level and success in the Common Entrance Examination.

The Senior Primary programme caters for students who fail to gain entry into the secondary schools via the common entrance examination.

Secondary education is provided at the age of 11+ and up to the age of 17+. Secondary schools admit students in the 11-13 age range from the primary schools on the basis of performance on the National Common Entrance Examination (CEE).

Formal examinations are held - the National Examination administered to grade 9 pupils in primary, senior primary and all age/combined schools is set by the Ministry of Education and Culture; the Common Entrance Examination, administered to pupils at age 11+ throughout the system is set by the Ministry of Education and Culture; the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) is an external
examination set and administered by Caribbean educators. It is designed for students who have completed five years of secondary schooling.

POST SECONDARY AND POST-COMPULSORY SCHOOL AGE

The major post-secondary education thrust in Saint Lucia since the 1970's has been through the Morne Educational Complex. The Complex comprised an "A" Level (Advanced Level) College, a Teacherís College, and a Technical College. In September 1986 these institutions were integrated to form the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College. The College currently comprises:

THREE MAIN DIVISIONS:

      • Arts, Science, and  General Studies
      • Teacher Education and Educational Administration
      • Technical Education and Management Studies

      FOUR DEPARTMENTS:

                  • Nursing Education
                  • Continuing Education
                  • Health Sciences
                  • Agriculture
A COMPUTER BASED LEARNING CENTER

In addition to the regular "A" level, Teacher Training and other categories of programmes, the College now offers technical/vocational progammes.

    1. Evening programmes -basically modular courses designed by the College
    2. First Year Degree Studies - (in co-operation with the University of The West Indies in  Natural Sciences, Education, Arts and Social Sciences.
    3. Sub-regional programmes currently through the Organization of Eastern  Caribbean States (OECS) and the British Development Division (BDD), in Technical Education:e.g.
        • Two year Home Economics courses for teachers
        • Two-year Industrial Arts course for teachers

A two-year Bachelor of Education programme for teachers and Principals.

The College has expanded its service to include two centres in the south of the island:

      • The Business Education Centre, and
      • The Distance Education Centre

The former is geared toward meeting the education training needs of small business owners and managers, while the latter is designed to meet the training needs of persons in the clerical and secretarial fields.

EDUCATION REFORM INITIATIVES

A comprehensive attempt at educational reform to re-engineer the education systems of the OECS for the 21st century is underway, and a new draft Education is being proposed by the Ministry of Education, in keeping with the OECS Harmonization of Education Legislation process.

The objectives of the harmonization are:

      • To mobilize the Governments and people of the OECS to make the transition from development strategy based on the exploitation of natural resources, to strategies based on the development of human resources and the mastery and production of knowledge and technology.
      • To inspire the Governments and people of the OECS to shape the developmental imperatives determining their future by the exercise of their creativity, imaginativeness and problem solving.
      • To further promote among the OECS countries the concepts of co-operation, collaboration, sharing and learning from each other's experience in the process of educational development.
      • To facilitate, on a sub-regional basis, the incorporation of new ideas, thinking and approaches to education developed inside and outside the sub-region and the Caribbean.
      • To remove education in the OECS from the vagaries of adhocracy and to set it on a planned, long-term path with the capacity to evaluate it progress and to make needed adjustment.
      • To provide, to the rest of the Caribbean, a model of functional co-operation in education in meeting contemporary challenges.
      • To preserve the cultural sovereignty of the region and to provide a framework
        for cultural enrichment

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