Education in Trinidad and Tobago

Joined Commonwealth: 1962

Population: 1,339,000 (2009)

GDP p.c. growth: 5.1% p.a. 1990-2009

UN HDI 2010: world ranking 59

Net primary enrolment: 95.8% (2009)

Net secondary enrolment: 73.8% (2008)

Adult literacy: 98.7% (2009)

There are seven years of compulsory education starting at age five. Net enrolment ratios are 95.8% for primary (2009) and 73.8% for secondary (2008) with a gross enrolment ratio for all levels of education combined of 66.5% (2007). The pupil-teacher ratio for primary is 18:1 (2009) and for secondary 14:1 (2008). Some 93% of pupils complete primary school (2008). 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. 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.

Tertiary institutions include the St Augustine campus of the regional University of the West Indies, which also has campuses in Barbados and Jamaica. The University of Trinidad and Tobago was established by the government in 2004 and includes the Eastern Caribbean Institute of Agriculture and Forestry. There is virtually no illiteracy among people aged 15-24.

The government makes soft loans available for students wishing to pursue tertiary education courses locally or in other CARICOM countries. The programme is aimed at increasing the gross tertiary enrolment ratio to 60% by 2015.