The education system in Antigua and Barbuda followed the
British pattern and included public and private schools. Preprimary
school was available for children from ages three to six. Primary
education, compulsory for all children up to age twelve, was
provided for five or six years. Secondary education, lasting four
or five years, was offered upon the successful completion of a
qualifying examination; private schools had their own qualifying
examinations, while public schools used a standard test.
Postsecondary education was offered at the Antigua State
College and at the local branch campus of the University of the
West Indies (UWI). The Antigua State College offered a two-year
program in five departments: teacher training, the advanced level
in general education, commercial, engineering, and hotel and
catering. Upon completion of the program, students took exams to
earn certificates from external institutions, such as the UWI,
Cambridge University, and the Royal Arts Society of London.
Students attending the local branch campus of the UWI completed one
year of studies and then continued their studies at another campus
in Jamaica, Trinidad, or Barbados.
The 90-percent literacy rate indicated that the education
system was reasonably successful in imparting basic skills. Despite
this achievement, substantial problems remained in the late 1980s.
Educational supplies and facilities were inadequate; in addition,
there existed a high percentage of untrained teachers at all
levels. These instructional deficiencies contributed to a national
shortage of skilled labor.
In the 1980-81 school year, primary-school enrollment was
10,211 students, 78 percent of whom were in public schools. Of a
total of 436 primary-school teachers, 82 percent were in the public
system. Secondary schools had a total of 5,687 students and 321
teachers; 66 percent of the students and 71 percent of the teachers
were in the public system. The state college consisted of 329
students; although most were from Antigua and Barbuda, some
students also came from Anguilla, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and
Montserrat. The two special education schools had a combined
enrollment of thirty-seven students, instructed by thirteen
Data as of November 1987