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Saint Kitts and Nevis

Educational System—overview

The idea for a public system of universal education in the West Indies paralleled emancipation. In 1833 a system for educating the newly free as well as the elite was incorporated in the act to emancipate British slaves.

Following Britain's establishment of the Negro Education Grant (1835), the various religious denominations were entrusted with the development and staffing of primary and secondary schools in the West Indies. The British government provided financial support based on the number of ex-slaves on each island. In addition to the government grant, the resources of the Mico Charity were applied to West Indian education. Four teacher-training institutions and numerous elementary schools established by Mico money supplemented the efforts of religious organizations.

Gradually the island governments adopted education acts whereby middle-class education was developed with governmental assistance. On the eve of World War I, in 1914, the Protestant religious denominations that had continued to run the schools despite limited government financial support turned over the schools and the responsibility for education to the government. A notable date in the educational history of St. Kitts and Nevis occurred in 1929 when Miriam Pickard opened her secondary school for girls. That school and the boys' secondary school (St. Kitts Grammar School), established late in the nineteenth century, subsequently merged into a coeducational secondary school in the 1960s.

As the West Indian colonies moved toward independent statehood after World War II, each developed plans for modernizing its education system. An initial step toward a Caribbean-area focus on curriculum came with the introduction of the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) Secondary School Examination, which St. Kitts and Nevis, along with other Caribbean members of the Commonwealth, adopted in 1983. Based on a Caribbean-focused curriculum, this system of examinations would ultimately replace the General Certificate of Education (G. C. E.) examinations that were prepared in the United Kingdom. However, until the introduction of the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) in 2000, advanced level examinations taken by grade-14 students were administered by the G. C. E. board. CAPE, on the other hand, is administered by CXC.

Clarence Fitzroy Bryant, former minister of education, played a significant role in bringing universal secondary education to St. Kitts and Nevis in the 1970s. This milestone has helped St. Kitts and Nevis achieve the high literacy rate (98 percent) of today. The goal of the St. Kitts and Nevis educational system is the development of its human resources.

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Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferenceSaint Kitts and Nevis - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education