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Grenada is a small island country and Commonwealth realm located in the southern end of the Grenadines in the southeastern portion of the Caribbean Sea. Consisting of the island of Grenada and six smaller islands, the country has a total geographic land area of only 133 square miles and is situated to the northwest of Trinidad and Tobago, to the northeast of Venezuela and to the southeast of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Grenada is sometimes referred to as the “Island of Spice,” as the country is one of the world’s leading producers and exporters of nutmeg and mace. The capital and largest city in Grenada is St. George’s, and its national bird is the critically endangered Grenada Dove.
Grenada has a permanent population of 110,000 and a population density of over 830 people per square mile. Population has dwindled over the last several years, as many young people have emigrated to First World countries in search of opportunities and a change of pace. The majority of Grenadian inhabitants are descendants of African Slaves—Afro-Grenadians brought to the country by the English and French in the colonial days of the country. Those of North Indian heritage, primarily descendants of Indian indentured servants who occupied the country for over 30 years in the mid 1800s, account for the largest minority in the country, while people of French and English heritage, those of mixed descent and a small number of indigenous peoples, including the Carib and Arawak, make up the remainder.
English, the official language of Grenada, is used for all official business of the government, including education, communications and commerce. However, Grenadian Creole, a mix of English and indigenous languages, is spoken informally by the majority of Grenada inhabitants. Christianity is the predominant religion in Grenada, with Roman Catholics accounting for just over 50 percent of the overall population. Other Christian faiths, including people of the Protestant denominations Anglican, Presbyterian and Methodist, as well as Latter Day Saints and Rastafarians, account for much of the reminder. A very small minority of the population (mostly the Indian descendants) practices Islam and Hindi.
Education in Grenada
Education in Grenada is overseen by the national Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development. School is free and compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 16, the years that make up a student’s primary education and the initial three years of secondary education. Grenadian schools report a net enrollment rate of approximately 93 percent.
Education in Grenada is modeled after the British system of education and is divided into three stages: primary education, secondary education and higher or tertiary education. Primary education, which is provided for students between the ages of 6 and 12, spans 6 years, while secondary education, for students 13-18 years of age, spans an additional five years. In both primary and secondary school, students are exposed to a broad academic curriculum, one that becomes increasingly advanced with every new grade level. This includes instruction in subjects such as mathematics, science, Grenadian history and culture, English language arts, geography, art, music and physical education.
Higher education in Grenada is certainly not abundant, but eligible students who wish to continue their education following secondary school do have several options, including one junior college, offering academic and vocational course offerings; a technical and vocational training institute, for those wishing to pursue employment in specialty career fields; a teacher training institute; and one national university, where students can earn undergraduate, graduate and a limited number of post-graduate degrees in most major academic fields.
Grenada has a reported adult literacy rate of 91 percent; a rate that many experts believe may be much lower. There are many reasons for this, but perhaps most prominent is the fact that, despite the government mandate for compulsory education, poverty, poor school facilities and the need to help with family farm harvests have resulted in a consistent 7-8% absenteeism rate among primary school children.