Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are a group of islands which are a part of the Lesser Antilles island chain in the Caribbean Sea north of Trinidad and Tobago. The population is 118,432 and the literacy rate is 96%. English is the official language of
government and the language of instruction. Many people also speak a dialect called Vincentian Creole which is used at home and for other social situations.
The islands were first inhabited by the Ciboney which were a hunter-gatherer tribe that was eventually displaced by the Arawaks. In the late 13th century, the ArThe islands were first inhabited by the Ciboney which were a hunter-gatherer tribe that was
eventually displaced by the Arawaks. In the late 13th century, the Arawaks were conquered by the Caribs who resisted colonization much longer than other islands in the Caribbean. In 1635, slaves from Africa arrived on the islands after escaping from
a sinking Dutch ship. The Africans merged with the Caribs, and adopted their language.
During most of the 18th century, the islands were disputed by the French and the British. In 1763, the Treaty of Paris ceded St. Vincent to the British. In 1877, St. Vincent became a British Crown Colony. Until 1959, it was part of the Windward Islands
Federation, and, from 1959 to 1962, it was part of the West Indies Federation. Autonomy was granted in 1969, and on October 2, 1979, St. Vincent was granted independence from the United Kingdom.
Currently, the country's education system is overseen by the Ministry of Education, Reconciliation and Ecclesiastical Affairs.
Primary school is 6 years beginning at age 6. No credential is issued upon completion of primary school. After completion of primary school, students sit for the Common Entrance Examination to determine their placement in secondary school.
Secondary school is 5 years. Prior to the establishment of the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) in 1972, at the end of secondary school (Form V), students were assessed using the General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level (GCE O-Level) examinations,
which were administered by examination authorities in the United Kingdom.
The CXC Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) replaced the GCE O-Level exam. Form VI is two years long and students have the choice of taking the CXC Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) or the GCE Advanced Level (GCE A-Level) exams upon completion of Form VI.
Prior to 2005, four specialized colleges existed in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG for short) and reported to the Ministry of Education. The four colleges were the
- SVG College of Arts, Sciences and General Studies
- SVG Nursing College
- SVG Teachers' College
- SVG Technical and Vocational College
In 2005, the four specialized colleges, above, were officially amalgamated into a single, self-governing entity, the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College (SVGCC). Not only were the four colleges merged into a single institution, but SVGCC
was "given the statutory mandate to be autonomous of government management."
SVGCC has 2000 students who study among four college divisions with a wide variety of majors offered at multiple levels. They study in one- and two-year certificate programs, two year associate of arts, associate of science and associate of applied science
degrees -- AA, AS and AAS, respectively. Other post-secondary programs are offered by the University of the West Indies Distance Education Centre, such as bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing.
All associate degrees require 5 passes, including English, on the CSEC.
The Division of Arts, Sciences and General Studies (DASGS) offers the following programs
- AA Fine Arts, Design and Cultural Communication (FADCC)
- AA Paralegal Studies
- AS Business Studies
- AS General Studies
- AS Information Technology
- AS Psychology
- AS Natural Sciences (established in 2021)
- AAS Sports Sciences (established in 2021)
The Division of Nursing Education (DNE) offers a three-year Registered Nurse (RN) program, a four-year Bachelor of Nursing (BScN), a one-year Certificate in Midwifery, and a one-year Master of Nursing (MScN).
The bachelor's and master's degrees are taught in SVG through licensure agreements with the University of the West Indies (UWI), in Jamaica.
The Division of Teacher Education (DTE) offers certification programs in early childhood education, primary education, secondary education and vocational and technical education. All are two-year associate degrees requiring 66 semester
hours for completion.
The Division of Technical and Vocational Education (DTVE) offers degrees in business and general studies, engineering, hospitality and agriculture. One and two-year certificate programs are also available. The Level II (Craft) Certificate is a one-year program that requires 3 passes, including English, on the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC).
The Level III (Technician) Certificate is a 2-year program that requires 5 passes, including English, on the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) Secondary Education Certificate, or a Level II (Craft) Certificate, or passes
in a related field on the Certificate of Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE).