Turks and Caicos Islands
|Official Country Name:||Turks and Caicos Islands|
|Region:||North & Central America|
The Turks and Caicos Islands is a group of islands in the Atlantic Ocean near the southeastern Bahamas. As a British territory, the educational system of Turks and Caicos is based closely on the British model, and the primary language of instruction at all levels is English. Because residents are widely scattered among the island system consisting of the Caicos Islands and the Turks Islands, which are separated by the Turk Passage, the creation of a standardized education system offering equal access to all of the islanders has proved difficult. To counter this problem, several church groups, businesses, and individuals launched their own schools.
Education is free and mandatory for children aged five to fifteen. Primary education lasts for six years. In the 1990s, the island nation launched the Primary In-Service Teacher Education Project (PINSTEP) in an effort to increase the skills of its primary school teachers, nearly one-quarter of whom were unqualified. Turks and Caicos also worked to refurbish its primary schools, reduce textbook costs, and increase equipment and supplies given to schools. For example, in September of 1993, each primary school was given enough books to allow teachers to establish in-class libraries. In 2001, the student-teacher ratio at the primary level was roughly 15:1. Secondary education lasts for three years. The Turks and Caicos Islands Community College offers higher education to students who have successfully completed their secondary education. The community college also oversees an adult literacy program. The Ministry of Health, Education, Youth, Sports, and Women's Affairs oversees education in Turks and Caicos.
"Turks and Caicos Islands." Britannica.com. Chicago: Britannica.com Inc., 2001. Available from http://www.briticannica.com.
World Education Forum. "The EFA 2000 Assessment: Country Reports: Turks and Caicos Islands." Paris: UNESCO, 2000. Available from http://www2.unesco.org.
—AnnaMarie L. Sheldon
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