Education is a high priority in the country and Trinidad and Tobago enjoys a fine reputation in this regard. It is free and compulsory for children from ages 5 to 15. Non-mandatory pre-school may begin as early as age 3. Primary school starting age 5, comprises 7 grades followed by a secondary entrance assessment. Families take the matter seriously too, and for a few weeks the nation feels the strain.
Secondary school is compulsory for the first 5 years during which time a traditional academic curriculum is followed. Following completion of their Caribbean secondary education certificate, students may stay on at secondary school for a further 2 years. This may lead to a Caribbean advanced proficiency certificate and entrance to tertiary education.
The national training agency is responsible for monitoring and improving the quality of vocational training in Trinidad and Tobago. It does this in partnership with all the relevant partners, and has achieved much during its jurisdiction.
University education is free too, but only at undergraduate level and only at approved universities. These include the University of the West Indies, the University of Trinidad and Tobago, and the University of the Southern Caribbean. Some government subsidies are available for master’s programs.
The Campus of the University of the West Indies was established at Saint Augustine in 1960 and enjoys a good reputation. Its motto is oriens ex occidente lux
which means “a light rising from the west”.