Education is valued in Barbados. Bajans have developed high educational standards and have produced many scholars, writers, professionals, artists, musicians, athletes and leaders.

Until recently, education in Barbados followed the English system. Most textbooks were written in Britain. To obtain a high-school diploma, students had to pass examinations that were set in England and marked at English universities such as Cambridge and London. Recently, changes have been made to this system. Now, some courses and examinations are regional and better reflect the experience of the people of Barbados.

In Barbados, it is compulsory for children up to age 16 to attend schools. Education is free at all levels, including university. There are several private schools. The school system is very formal and structured. All children in kindergarten, primary and high school are required to wear uniforms. English is the main language of instruction at all levels of education.

Some children attend privately run kindergarten programs. Others begin their education at public school. Elementary school begins when a child is four or five. Bajan elementary school students learn reading, writing, grammar, arithmetic, geography, history and basic science.

   Did you know?
In 1847, the parliament of Barbados passed an act to establish a public library. This was a milestone for learning in Barbados. A similar act was passed three years later in Great Britain.
To gain admission to secondary school, students must pass examinations. Students take these examinations when they are between the ages of 10 and 12. In high school, students study mathematics, English language and literature, history, geography, biology, physics, chemistry, French and Spanish. Technical and vocational programs are also available through comprehensive schools, trade schools, on-the-job apprenticeships and private institutions. At the end of high school, students must pass a standardized examination before they can proceed to postsecondary education.

Education at the postsecondary level is available at the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies or at Barbados Community College. Some Bajans go abroad to study, usually to Canada, the United States or Great Britain.