The Bahamas education system is comparable
to many Western Countries. About 24 per cent
of the country’s budget is allocated to
education, the government’s top priority.
Education in The Bahamas is compulsory from
ages 5 through 16, with some 64,000 students
attending school (primary level - ages 5 to
11 and secondary level - ages 11 to 16). The
country boasts an adult literacy rate of more
than 95 per cent.
The Bahamas has both public and private schools. The Ministry of Education
operates 158 English schools, while private schools account for 52 of
the country’s schools. The government has put tremendous effort
into developing its education system, making it available to all Bahamians
at no cost, regardless of their financial means.
The School System
The Bahamas education system is based on the British model.
- In primary grades (the first six), students advance
depending on their exam performance at the end of each academic year.
- In secondary grades, students must take their first
major external exam, the National Junior Certificate Examination. In
order to graduate, they must pass the Bahamas General Certificate of
Secondary Education (BGCSE).
After successfully completing secondary school, the Bahamas education
system offers Bahamians the opportunity to pursue post-secondary studies.
Numerous schools offer vocational training for adults.
- The Princess Margaret Hospital has its own nursing
- The University of The West Indies Centre for Hotel and Tourism
Management, located in Nassau, offers bachelor degrees in hotel
management and tourism.
- Founded in 1974, The College of The Bahamas is the
only tertiary level educational institution in the country with a wide
range of programs leading to bachelor and associate degrees. Although
it previously offered only a 2-year program, it now offers a 4-year
Several non-Bahamian colleges offer higher education programs in The Bahamas.
Some American universities, such as the University of Miami and Nova Southeastern
University, hold classes leading to various degrees on weekends and in
the evenings in Nassau.
The Bahamas education system classifies schools into
three major categories:
- primary for children ages five to ten
- secondary for ages eleven to seventeen
- and schools for all ages in areas where more than one school is not
In general, schools in the Family Islands are for students of all ages
because of long distances to residences; in New Providence and
Grand Bahama, students are most often separated according
to their age group.