Education in Dominica
Joined Commonwealth: 1978
Population: 67,000 (2009)
GDP p.c. growth: 1.7% p.a. 1990-2009
Net primary enrolment: 97.5% (2009)
Net secondary enrolment: 89.2% (2008)
Gross tertiary enrolment: 3.5% (2007)
Public spending on education was 4.1% of GDP in 2008. There are 12 years of compulsory education starting at age five. Gross enrolment ratio for all levels of education combined was 74.5% in 2007 with a primary female-male ratio of 0.99:1 and a secondary female-male ratio of 1.06:1 (2009). The pupil-teacher ratio for primary is 16:1 and for secondary 14:1 (2009). Some 89% of pupils complete primary school (2007). The school year starts in September.
Free textbooks are provided for all primary school pupils and for secondary students in years 1 to 3. The Education Trust Fund gives support to poor students, specifically secondary school and tertiary level students, who cannot afford tuition.
Further education is provided at a teacher-training college, a nursing school and at the regional University of the West Indies, which has a branch in Dominica and main campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago. The Dominica State College, a publicly funded institution, offers programmes leading to GCE Advanced Levels and associate degrees; it also operates four faculties and has a continuing studies division.
The Caribbean Examinations Council, established in 1972 by an agreement among 15 English-speaking Commonwealth Caribbean countries and territories, provides examinations and certification at secondary and post-secondary levels. The Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate examination is for students at the end of the secondary education cycle; the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations for post-secondary students entering the world of work and for those candidates who wish to continue their further education at the tertiary level.
Children with special needs are catered for by institutions such as the School for the Hearing Impaired and Alpha Centre.