Preprimary & Primary Education
Preprimary education is offered to all children between the ages of three to five; they are taught in the four nursery schools and/or in nursery classes in some primary and composite schools. At present about 66 percent of three- and four-year-old children in Barbados are receiving preprimary education. Because of the declining birth rate, the government has been promoting the use of available space at primary and composite schools to provide nursery education.
Primary education is required for children between the ages of 5 and 11 with the goal of preparing them to be able to read and write, to reason, to deal with normal and conflict situations, to be numerate, and to develop high self-esteem. They are taught in 110 primary schools, of which 86 (78 percent) are public. At age 11, students take the Common Entrance Examination, a measure of what children have learned at the end of primary schooling. Because each child develops at his or her own rate, the government proposed, effective May 1996, that children be allowed to take the examination when they are ready. The class teachers and principal of the primary school determine readiness. Children only take the examination once, must be exposed to the entire primary school curriculum, and must be at least 10 years of age to enter secondary school.
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