In T & T, school enrollment is compulsory for children from five to twelve years old. Free education at both the primary and secondary level may be the reason large numbers of children enroll in school. T & T has high enrollment rates of 94% for primary and of 76% for secondary school students. This has contributed to T & T's high literacy rate of 98%.

Admission to public secondary schools is gained by passing the Common Entrance Examination between the ages of ten and twelve. After five years in secondary schools, students write term examinations that are used as qualifications for employment or for entrance into a post-secondary institution.

Until recently, examinations were British designed and marked. Now most examinations are regional and reflect the experience of the people who live in T & T.

Both technical and vocational education are available through comprehensive schools, trade schools, on-the-job training and private institutions. There are also schools of agriculture and engineering. One of the campuses of the University of the West Indies is located in St. Augustine, Trinidad.

The T & T and Canadian school systems are different in structure, but the basic elements related to participation, examinations and teacher-parent relationships are similar.

The very rich are able to afford private school education fees. These private schools go from kindergarten to the end of secondary school. The oil companies have two private schools for their employees' children.

Did you know?

Nothing sums up the T & T philosophy towards education better than a saying by a former Prime Minister, the late Eric Williams, when he said, "The future of the nation lies in your school bag."