Study and find schools in Jamaica
Jamaica, officially known as the Commonwealth of Jamaica, is a small island country; a member of the Greater Antilles chain of islands measuring approximately 145 miles in length and roughly 80 miles across for a total geographic area of just over 4200 square miles. Indigenous Taino inhabitants first named the island Xaymaca, a name meaning the “Land of Wood and Water” or the “Land of Springs.” Jamaica is located in the Caribbean Sea, and is situated approximately 90 miles south of Cuba and 120 miles west of Hispaniola, the island that plays host to the sovereign nations of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Formerly a possession of the Spanish and later a colony of the British, Jamaica gained full independence in the summer of 1962, becoming a commonwealth of the British, which it remains to this day. The capital and by far the largest city in Jamaica is Kingston.
Jamaica has a population of 2.8 million, making it the third-most populous Anglophone country in the Americas, after the United States and Canada. The majority of the population is of African descent, and of these, the Akan and Igbo are the two most prominent ethnic groups. Multi-racial Jamaicans are the second largest racial group on the island, particularly those of mixed African and Irish heritage, followed by smaller groups of Indian and Chinese ethnicity. Being that Jamaica is an ex-colony and commonwealth of the British, the official language of the country is English, which is used for all state matters and for education. Informally, most Jamaicans speak a form of African-English Creole called Jamaican Patois. Christianity is the most predominant religious faith on the island, with the largest denomination being the Church of God the Prophecy, followed by the Seventh Day Adventist, Pentecostal, Baptist, Anglican, Roman Catholic and Methodist Churches.
Education in Jamaica
Following the emancipation of the slaves in Jamaica, the country quickly established an all-inclusive system of schools to help educate the masses who were hungry for education. At that time, churches provided the majority of education, but today both public and private institutions share the educational load at every level. Currently, the education system in Jamaica is divided between 4 distinct levels: early childhood education, primary school, secondary school and tertiary or post-secondary education.
Early childhood education serves children 3-5 years of age. This level is not compulsory, but most Jamaican parents do take advantage of these schools as a way to socially and educationally prepare their children for primary school and beyond.
Primary schools, (ages 6-13, in grades one through eight), offer a broad curriculum of basic education, beginning with focused instruction and guided practice in reading, writing and arithmetic. Additional subjects are gradually introduced as children progress through this level, including science, English language and literature, civics, cultural and social studies, and physical education.
Secondary education in Jamaica spans 4 years, grades 9-12, although only the first two years are compulsory under the Jamaican system. Following the 9th and 10th grades, students planning on attending a college or university can continue their secondary education in a general or academic track, while the more career-minded students can opt instead to pursue the vocational-technical track during the 11th and 12th grades, a program in which they will receive instruction and training in a career field of their choice, one that will qualify them to enter the workforce upon graduation.
Tertiary education in Jamaica is provided by community colleges, along with one teacher training college and a comprehensive university, where students can earn undergraduate and graduate degrees in a limited number of academic and professional fields. Doctorate-level education is limited in Jamaica, but students interested in a PhD-level program are free to apply at universities in the United States and/or Europe and complete their studies through distance or online education programs.