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Bahamas Education

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.

Bahamas EducationPublic or Private?
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).

Post-secondary Education
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 school.
  • 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 program.

College Education
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 justified.

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.


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