Grenada's education system was deficient in meeting the basic
needs of the country in the 1980s. Although literacy was estimated
at nearly 90 percent, much of the population was only marginally
literate and had little hope of becoming proficient at reading.
In 1981, the last year for which statistics were available in
1987, education was free and compulsory from ages six to fourteen,
and most students completed a primary education. There were 68
primary schools with a total enrollment of approximately 22,100
students; the majority did not continue on to a secondary-school
program. The secondary-school program for the same year included 20
schools and 6,250 students. Students took a middle-level
examination at age sixteen to determine their eligibility for the
final two years of preparatory work for university entrance. Few,
however, actually completed these two years.
Grenada had only three institutions beyond the secondary level
for technical or academic training of its citizens: the Institute
for Further Education, the Teacher Training College, and the
Technical and Vocational Institute. The St. George's Medical
School, although administered in Grenada, existed to serve foreign
medical students, most of whom came from the United States.
Although Grenada maintained a basic educational infrastructure,
it was not producing workers with the vocational and administrative
skills required of a developing economy. Notably deficient was
training in electricity, electronics, plumbing, welding,
construction, and other technical skills. A World Bank (see Glossary) development project to upgrade vocational training to
help meet Grenada's long-term vocational needs was being reviewed
in the spring of 1987.
Education reform was a pillar of the development platform of
the PRG. Beginning in 1979, Bishop initiated programs designed to
reorganize the entire curriculum and move it away from the British
model. The overall plan envisioned the development of a nationwide
education system that would meet the vague goal of addressing the
"particular needs" of the society. This goal, however, was never
explicitly defined, and education reform never became the rousing
success claimed by the PRG.
Although the PRG strove to retrain primary-school and
secondary-school teachers, little was accomplished because of the
burden placed on teachers, who were asked both to instruct students
and to attend PRG seminars. In addition, many teachers eventually
became alienated and dropped out of the programs because of the
programs' strong political overtones.
Perhaps the PRG's most successful attempts at education reform
were the volunteer programs designed to improve rural literacy
levels and repair community schools. Observers have suggested that
rural literacy did improve and that stronger community ties were
forged because of the pride generated through rebuilding local
schools with volunteer labor. The overall education reform program,
however, was not considered successful. Nevertheless, the publicity
generated by education reform did contribute to the PRG's
Developments in primary and secondary education since the fall
of the PRG in October 1983 were similarly minimal. Data and
analyses of the post-PRG education system were not readily
available, but a return to the British school system model was
effected in 1984.
Data as of November 1987