Independent Schools in Jamaica
- Independent schools
Gross enrolment overall: 82.7% (2010)
Primary female–male ratio: 0.95:1 (2010)
Secondary female–male ratio: 1.03:1 (2010)
Primary pupil–teacher ratio: 21:1 (2010)
Secondary pupil–teacher ratio: 15:1 (2010)
There are six years of compulsory education starting at age six. Primary school comprises six years and secondary seven, with cycles of three and four years. Some 95% of pupils complete primary school (2009). The school year starts in September.
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. Qualifications offered by the Council include the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (in 33 subjects, for students at the end of the secondary education cycle); Caribbean Advanced Proficiency (for post-secondary students entering the world of work and for those candidates who wish to continue their further education at the tertiary level); Caribbean Vocational Qualification; and, since 2005, Associate Degrees. The Council has its headquarters in Barbados and western zone office in Jamaica.
Special education is provided mainly by private voluntary organisations in partnership with government. Some 75 agencies and organisations, many affiliated to churches, run adult education programmes.
The definition of a private education institution in Jamaica is broadly defined as any school at which education is provided for 20 or more students that is not a public educational institution, and therefore includes pre-primary to vocational institutions. The Jamaica Independent Schools’ Association (JISA), founded in 1969, aspires to build the capacity of private schools by improving teaching and learning as a primary nation building tool. Over 120 private schools are registered with the association. The Educational Services Division of the Ministry of Education is responsible for the Independent Schools Committee, which reports directly to the Minister of Education on policy matters relating to private education. Independent schools are required to use the National Curriculum as the base for their programmes.