Education, the Key to our Future
Education in St. Kitts and Nevis is universal, compulsory from ages 5 to 16, and co-educational.
The Government of St Kitts also continues to advance policies to extend learning into adulthood.
Education is the cornerstone of personal and national development.
The Ministry of Education is responsible for delivering programmes and services at the following levels:
- Pre-schools cater for children who are at least 3 years old
- The Primary tier of the education system caters to students aged 5-1
- Students normally begin their Secondary education at age 12
As member States of the Caribbean Examinations Council, St. Kitts administers various standard secondary-level exams designed to certify graduates for different paths toward employment:
- The Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence (CCSLC) certifies all persons leaving secondary school, having the knowledge, competencies, attitudes and values to become productive members of society.
- The Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) is normally written in the Fifth Form
- The Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) is written at two levels over two years of study, typically Sixth Form
- Caribbean Vocational Qualifications (CVQ) is a competency-based certification of technical and/or vocational skills, which prepares students for the world of work in a variety of industries.
Since joining the Caribbean-wide standards for secondary certifications, St Kitts and Nevis students have consistently produced better-than-average performance when compared with our Caribbean counterparts.
The Ministry of Education recognizes our students and dedicated teachers for their accomplishments and provides support in the form of over 30 scholarships annually for continuing to tertiary education. The vision of the Government of St Kitts and Nevis is to continue to raise the nation’s educational standard: the Ministry’s objective is for a minimum of 20 per cent of the population to have tertiary education. Some students exit school at the Fourth Form level or before. There are also alternatives for these students:
- They can enroll in Project Strong, which delivers a skills-based curriculum
- They may enroll in a programme at an Advanced Vocational Centre (AVEC) or the National Skills Training Programme (NSTP). Major Developments
Support for all stakeholders
In recent years, as a result of a continued Government focus on policies to support families to ensure children can complete a full course of training, a number of assistance programmes have been introduced:
- A School Transport System, which provides a fleet of buses to take children to and from school at no cost to parents and guardians.
- Establishment of a Teacher Resource Centre (TRC), an extension of the Curriculum Development Unit. It provides information and resources for teachers
- Computerization of primary and secondary schools.
- Setting up of system to assist low-income families by providing textbooks at no cost, and to cover the cost of examination fees (The Student Education Learning Fund (SELF) Project.
- Establishment of a Special Education Unit to assist special needs children.
- Establishment of a Dental Programme designed to enable schoolchildren to receive dental care from Government dentists.
- Facilitating assistance from UWI (University of the West Indies a regional university), which provides teacher training at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels.
- Institution of a Planning Division with responsibility for curriculum development and programme planning.