Education in the principal intelligence is any action or occurrence that has a determining effect on the mind, nature or physical ability of a person. In its technological sense, education is the procedure by which society intentionally broadcasts its accrued information, skills and values from one age group to another. It is therefore imperative to invest in education for a better society. This paper seeks to discuss the historical development of education in the Caribbean focussing wholly on the British Caribbean. This paper also shows the challenges incurred during the development phase and provides an in depth look at the current educational structures.
Education was an enormous social elevator of the British Caribbean people. The commonwealth Caribbean also known as the British Caribbean are the t the English-speaking islets, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, the Windward Islands Barbados, the Leeward Island, and the Northern Islands in the Caribbean and the countries such as Belize and Guyana that once comprised the Caribbean fraction of the British Empire,(Kampala, 1999). From the mid nineteenth century, civic education, developed rapidly in these regions. A primary education coalesced with some information of languages was practical in commercial apprehensions because most of the British Caribbean countries performed much of their commerce with bordering Spanish-speaking countries. A secondary education was useful in getting into the subordinate ranks of the government and indispensable for entering the careers market. A system of scholarships facilitated the lower-class children with aptitude to move into secondary schools and into their occupations (Lewis, 2006). The figure was certainly not huge, but the stream was steady, and the rivalry for scholarships was fierce. Furthermore, by the early twentieth century, this procedure of academic selection and thorough training for the British examinations, standardized for both British and colonial students, was guarded by principally black schoolmasters, the establishment of the emerging certified population.
Previous to the mid nineteenth century, there were three types of education all over the British Caribbean involved. There was education overseas on private proposal, education within the islands in elite schools intended for local white’s settlers deficient of the resources for an overseas education and education for the academically competent of the middle-class group of non-whites, that is, the initial inhabitants. The rich planters commonly dispatched their children overseas, largely to Britain, with some going to the then British North America. Impoverished whites settlers went to local grammar schools established by benevolent donations in the eighteenth century, such as Codrington College and Harrison College in Barbados and Woolmer’s, Rusea’s, Beckford and Smith’s, and Manning’s schools in Jamaica. On the other hand, Slaves and their progeny were given little more than spiritual teachings. However, in 1797 a law in Barbados made it unlawful to educate slaves through reading and writing.
In the early nineteenth century, the bequest from the Mico Trust, initially founded in 1670, to redeem Christian slaves in the Barbary States of North Africa, established a chain of schools for blacks and free non-white pupils all over the Caribbean, in addition to three teacher preparation colleges in Mico in Antigua and Jamaica and Codrington in Barbados (LaFont, 2001). After 1870 there was a minute upheaval in public education all over the Caribbean. This corresponded with the institution of free obligatory public basic education in Britain and in individual states of the United States. An arrangement of free civic primary education and inadequate secondary education became commonly obtainable in every territory of the British Empire, together with the establishment of a structured scheme of teacher training and assessments.
However, the major push of public education in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century did not come from the local administration, but moderately, from the religious society. Contra Protestant denominations especially the Church of England, the Baptists, and the Presbyterians and the Jesuits activated a huge scheme of basic and secondary schools. The churches dominated basic education in Jamaica and Barbados and ran a bulk of the primary schools in Trinidad, Grenada, and Antigua by the conclusion of the nineteenth century. The most exceptional secondary schools being St. George’s College in Jamaica, Codrington College in Barbados and Queen’s College, in Trinidad. In addition, the principal grammar schools in the Bahamas, Antigua, St. Kitts, and Grenada indebted their derivations to these religious outfits.
Each colonial territory had an education board, which supervised both government and sacred schools. Government support gradually augmented until by the mid twentieth century when the state ultimately achieved full control over all structures of education. Predestined on the British structure, even to the exploit of British textbooks and examinations, the colonial Caribbean educational scheme was never customized to local conditions. However, it generated a crop of leaders all over the region whose strong logic of local identity and sharp acquaintance of British political organizations provided for the region in the twentieth century. In addition, the liberation of the slaves portended the formation of the Jamaican education system for the inhabitants. Before liberation there were few schools as indicated above for educating the original inhabitants. It was until after liberation did the West Indian Commission funded establishment of Elementary Schools, currently known as All Age Schools.
Challenges during the development of Education
However, the educational structure was slow to reach most citizens, until the early 1970s. Even after the elimination of slavery, education stayed rare despite the early efforts as performed mostly by the Christian churches. However, some secondary schools were created in Kingston and Barbados served principally the privileged light-skinned individual, in the late 1800s. The inadequate accessibility of schools, particularly outside the primary level, and the exclusive prospectus strengthen class divisions in the colonial society. A dual scheme of education, distinguished by government run primary schools and private secondary schools, successfully excluded a great part of the population from attaining more than practical literacy. Additionally, much of the substance of recognized education in Jamaica was mainly extraneous for students not capable to attend universities in Britain. In fact, less than a percentage of blacks and only 9 percent of the mixed races went to secondary school in 1943.
The commencement of untimely autonomy in 1944 ultimately cleared the means for augmented funding for education. From the foundation of the Ministry of Education in 1953 to sovereignty in 1962, a nationalized education policy was developed that enlarged the capacity of education and redefined educational precedence. Throughout the 1960s, the key goal of the government in the field of education was the creation of a sufficient number of primary schools and secondary schools. Though, the educational structure continuously provided inadequate opportunities at the post primary levels since many of the characteristics acceded to from the British educational system remained until the 1970s.
For instance in Jamaica, The administration elected in 1972 started key changes in the educational scheme. Many Qualitative and quantitative developments in education were recognized as the main elements of the new government’s manifesto during its term in office. The two most imperative features of the program were commonly free secondary and college education and a movement to eradicate illiteracy (Myers, 2007). Educational improvements were proposed to rectify the social inequities that the system of secondary education had previously encouraged and to generate greater access for all Jamaicans to the favoured government and private-sector occupations that characteristically required a secondary school certificate.
The improvements of secondary education had positive but restricted effects. Better access to education was the main achievement of process, but restricted funding lowered the eminence of education for the augmented numbers of students attending secondary schools. However, the overture of commonly free secondary education was a main step in removing the institutional hurdles confronting poor (Rallon, 2006) Jamaicans who were if not unable to pay for tuition. Even though education was free in the public schools and school attendance was obligatory to the age of sixteen, costs for books, uniforms, lunch, and transport discouraged some families from sending their children to school.
Currently the following groupings of schools subsist; the Early childhood, Primary, Secondary and Tertiary. Early childhood education incorporates Basic, Infant and privately managed pre-schools. The age legion is typically between the ages of 1 – 6 years. The administration of Jamaica and Belize commenced their support for the expansion of early childhood education, care and development in the late 1942s. In Jamaica alone, there are 2,595 early childhood establishments; of these, roughly 183 are not identified by the government, 401 are day care centres, about 100 are infant schools and 5 are unique education schools which proffer early childhood care. The conscription rate is 62% between 4 and 6 years.
Primary education, in Jamaica specifically, concentrates on the fundamental instructive needs of students and organizes them for Secondary Education. It consists of children between the ages of 5 to11 years. Under the Caribbean Examination Council’s Revised Primary Curriculum, student appraisal has transformed considerably from what it was commonly an routine encouragement to secondary school via the previous Common Entrance Examination at the end of Grade 6. However, since 1999, the National Assessment Program and Grade Six Achievements tests have been employing a diversity of teaching tactics to ensure that education experiences are broader based and student centred.
National Assessment Program assumes an incorporated approach from grades 1-3 and a disconnected theme area for grades 4-6. Primary education when privately owned or run, these schools are called Preparatory Schools. The break down in terms of grade is as follows;
Secondary education is more intensive with students being exposed to wide range of subjects, as well as Spanish and French as 2nd languages in both Jamaica and the Cayman Island. Normally, amalgamated Science is usually taught until the 3rd form; where students begin taking more specified sciences like Physics, Biology and Chemistry as detach subjects. Some schools group students based on their academic achievement the year prior. This can greatly impact what subjects some students might be able to take later on in school, and what teachers they might be assigned to.
In 4th form, students select from 6-10 subjects with 8 being the standard they sit in the Caribbean Examination Council’s O-Level school leaving examinations. Students are liberated to generate their own curricula which must comprise but cannot be restricted to: Mathematics and English Language. All the others are elective though some schools tend to make at least 1 other obligatory. Most students take at least one foreign language. The Sixth Form is divided into upper and lower sixth, and is not obligatory, its duration is two years, entails advanced post secondary program, at the end of which students write the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Exams. These are the correspondent of the GCE A-Level examinations in the UK system. These exams are considerably harder than exams sat at the finish of high school, and are frequently thought to be harder than most exams students will ever sit in university. Admission into Sixth Form is tremendously competitive, particularly in rural and suburban Jamaica, where there are fewer high schools with sixth form, serving bigger areas. The high schools in the Jamaica and Belize are either sole-sex or co-educational institutions, but many follow the conventional English grammar school model used all over the British West Indies.
Tertiary education comprises Community Colleges, Teachers’ Colleges with The Mico Teachers’ College being the oldest established in 1836, Vocational Training Centres, Colleges and Universities. They are either publicly or privately owned. Normally, A-Level or CAPE examinations are requisite to enter the nation’s Universities. One may also be eligible after having earned a 3-year diploma from a credited post-secondary college. The word college typically indicates establishments which do not grant at least a bachelor’s degree. Universities are characteristically the only degree granting organizations; though, many colleges have been creating joint programs with universities, and thus are able to proffer some students more than a college diploma.
In short, cotemporary education in the Caribbean has come a long way. This is because Education is free from the early childhood to secondary levels. There are also chances for those who cannot pay for further education in the vocational field through the Human Employment and Resource Training-National Training Agency programme and through a widespread scholarship network for the assorted universities. From findings above it evident that education in the Caribbean has developed a great while. As much it is not perfect, it is better off. It is also evident that the education system in the countries are Based on the British system, owing to its colonization. All in all education has really improved in both accessibility and quality.
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