As a former British Colony, St. Kitts and Nevis has inherited its education system from Britain. As a result the delivery of education in St. Kitts and Nevis was under the terms and conditions of Britain. The colonies, therefore, had to follow a meaningless seasons of winter, spring, summer and autumn formed a predominant part of the school curriculum. Those of us who are old enough, no doubt can remember the emphasis placed on the three ‘R’s of ‘Reading, Riting and Rithmetic’ in school. We had to learn and adapt the British way of life.
The history of our modern education system began in 1967. This was when the late Hon. Fitzroy Bryant, a youthful and highly intelligent Minister of Education introduced the Comprehensive System of Education. This new development brought with it a range of concepts that stakeholders in Education appeared willing to adapt.
Today, education in St. Kitts and Nevis is universal, compulsory from age 5 - 16, and co-educational. The merits and demerits of these characteristics have been debated again and again, both in the halls of academia and in the public domain, with no unanimous consensus thereon.
Pre-schools cater for children who are three years old. After two years, they graduate to the primary level. Pre-school education is only one of three levels of childcare service offered in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. Each service is carried out in a different type of facility/centre specifically designed for that purpose.
The Primary tier of the education system caters largely to students aged 5-12. A system of ‘automatic promotion’ sees students moving irrespective of ability from primary to secondary school upon attaining the age of twelve.
Students normally begin their secondary level of education at age twelve, and depart at age sixteen, though it is not unusual to find students completing their secondary education at age seventeen, sometimes at age eighteen (the age of majority in Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis).
Some students exit school at the Fourth Form level or before. There are several alternatives. Some are accommodated at Project Strong where a strong skill based curriculum is implemented for students having difficulty in the structured school setting. Others enter directly into the ‘world of work’ or sharpen their employment skills for the world of work at a post-secondary institution. They may enroll in a programme at an Advanced Vocational Centre (AVEC) or the National Skills Training Programme (NSTP).
As of September 2000, students of the CFBC in St. Kitts and Sixth Form in Nevis pursued the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Exam (CAPE), a newly-introduced package of tertiary level educational instruction designed to replace the traditional English-based General Certificate of Education Advanced Level programme, (i.e. the G.C.E A’level programme).
Major Education Developments
- Introducing of a school Transport System, which provides a fleet of buses to take children to and from school at no cost to parents or guardians.
- Establishment of a Teacher Resource Centre (TRC), which acts as an extension of CDU. It provides additional information and resources for teachers.
- Computerization of primary and secondary schools.
- Setting up of a Student Education Learning Fund (SELF) Project. This supplies free textbooks and pays examination fees for children on the basis of the Low Socio-economic Status of their parents.
- Establishment of a Special Education Unit to assist special needs children with their education and raining.
- Establishment of a Dental Programme designed to enable individual schools to visit Government Dentists for extractions or filling of defective teeth of their children.
- Facilitating assistance from UWI (University of the West Indies a regional university), which provides teacher training at the under and post-graduate levels.
- Institution of a Planning Division with responsibility for curriculum development and planning in all programme areas within the Ministry of Education.
Ministry of Education
Church Street Basseterre
Tele: 869 467 1105
Fax: 869 466 8974