Education in Saint Lucia

The Honourable Dr. Robert Kennedy Lewis

The Minister for Education, Human Resource Development and Labour

Despite enormous challenges faced by the education sector, Saint Lucia has achieved a measure of success in realising the vision of a literate, informed, creative and productive society and in implementing the Millennium Development Goals (MGDs). Therefore, I am quite pleased to announce that Saint Lucia has achieved universal primary education, and is now working towards universal early childhood development.

Our main goal is to ensure that students are at the centre of the development agenda of the education system and as such, the Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development and Labour strives to provide all children and youth with opportunities to access high quality education and training that would improve their life chances and to make them internationally competitive. The Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development and Labour is responsible for equipping all learners with skills, knowledge and attitudes to face the global challenges of the new technological environment. In this regard, the government of Saint Lucia views the development of our Human resources as the basis for social development and sustainable economic growth.

The introduction of Universal Secondary Education (USE) in 2006/07 was a great accomplishment for the Government of Saint Lucia.  The implementation of USE addressed an inequity in the system where only students who succeeded the Common Entrance Examination at the end of primary school went to a secondary school.  Traditionally, students from low socio-economic families were those most likely at risk of not accessing secondary school education.  Since the achievement of USE, there has been an overall increase in the gross enrollment rate (GER) and net enrollment rate (NER) in Saint Lucia.  GER increased from 76% in 2005/06 to 98.4% in 2010/11.  Efforts to reduce inequity and ensure the participation of all students have resulted in a significant improvement in student support services available to vulnerable and at-risk students.

The advent of USE has revealed certain deficiencies in our education system which we are currently grappling with.  The reality of male underachievement is of concern to the Ministry of Education – There appears to be gender disparity at the secondary and tertiary levels as females continue to dominate in terms of performance and enrolment figures at post secondary and tertiary levels.  Gender disparities also exist in the choices of subjects taken at those levels.  Males outnumber females in the subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) STEM, while females outnumber males in subjects traditionally associated with care giving.  National and regional high stakes examinations continue to indicate deficiencies in literacy, numeracy and technology.  Also, the proportion of learners achieving their full potential or achieving adequate skills remains small.

In response to these deficiencies, Saint Lucia has partnered with the Commonwealth Secretariat through its Social Transformation Programme Division (STPD) for assistance in developing an intervention strategy to address the issue of male underachievement, and eliminate gender disparities in secondary/post secondary/tertiary education.   Two programmes designed to provide students in Saint Lucia with a second chance to access training are also being supported by the Government.  These programmes – Center for Adolescents Rehabilitation and Education (CARE) and National Skills Development Programme administered by the National Skills Development Centre (NSDC), provide students with the opportunity to acquire competencies in English and Mathematics as well as skills in technical and vocational areas.

In addition, the Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development and Labour in collaboration with the Caribbean Development Bank, under the Basic Education Enhancement Project (BEEP) continues to train a cadre of primary, secondary and special education teachers to enhance teaching methodologies and techniques in order to improve student performance at both primary and secondary schools.  The European Union (EU) funded Education Enhancement Through Information and Communications Technology Programme (EETICT) also seeks to improve the learning and teaching processes in schools through the appropriate use of ICT in schools and communities in Saint Lucia.
The government of Saint Lucia is unwavering in its efforts to support the education system in ensuring the delivery of a more effective education service.