SEATTLE — The islands of St. Kitts and Nevis are located in the West Indies. The country has a per capita income of $8,000 USD. Despite the low income, the nation has sought to make education a priority over the years. These are 10 facts about education in St. Kitts and Nevis.
- The education system is “fairly stable” but there are some concerns with the quality of education. Many teachers are unqualified. To fix this, there are ongoing professional development exercises, clinical supervisions and appraisals for teachers, wrote Minister of Education and Information Nigel Carty.
- The literacy rate is almost perfect at 98 percent.
- Education in St. Kitts and Nevis is free and mandatory for the first 12 years and the overall enrollment of students in primary school is 83 percent and 91 percent for secondary school.
- In many developing countries, girls do not attend school at the same rate as boys. However, education in St. Kitts and Nevis is equally available to girls and boys. There is gender parity in the education system with boys enrolled at 83 percent and girls enrolled at 84.5 percent at the primary level, according to a UNESCO report.
- The student to teacher ratio is 14-to-1, which provides fewer distractions because classrooms are not overcrowded.
- The public schools in the nation have adequate resources. There are computer labs, libraries, free textbooks and reading clinics. Children in primary school also have access to lunch every day.
- There are no universities in the nation but “there is a clear and decisive strategy for the support and further development of special education services.”
- Thirteen percent of expenditures are spent on education in St. Kitts and Nevis, which is above average for Eastern Caribbean countries.
- In a report, UNESCO’s educational review team recommended that a council be formed to better facilitate the qualification of teachers and there was a need to “enhance the social status of teachers and the prestige of the teaching profession.”
- The global financial crisis of 2008 eventually led to a cut in education funding. While this was many years ago, it could lead to a reduction in the quality of education in St. Kitts and Nevis.
Any future curriculum development activities in St. Kitts and Nevis should ensure that the learning needs of students are the primary focus, according to UNESCO. The nation has made vast improvements over the years, but there is more work that needs to be done.
– Dezanii Lewis