Education for children between the ages of 5 and 16 years is compulsory. Primary education begins at the age of five years and normally lasts for seven years. Secondary education lasts for five years, three years of lower secondary, followed by two years of upper secondary. The government administers the majority of the schools. As of 2000, there were 72 primary and secondary schools. There were 9,298 students enrolled at the primary schools and 5,845 students at the secondary schools. As of 1999 the primary pupil-teacher ratio was an estimated 19 to 1; in 1990 the secondary pupil-teacher ratio was 15 to 1.
There currently are three colleges. The University of Health Sciences, Antigua, was founded in 1982. It had, in the 1990s, an enrollment of 46 students and 16 teachers. The University of the West Indies School of Continuing Studies (Antigua and Barbuda) was founded in 1949 and offers adult education courses, secretarial skills training programs, summer courses for children and special programs for women. In 1972, the technical and teacher's training colleges merged and formed the Antigua State College.
The University of the West Indies has campuses in Barbados, Trinidad, and Jamaica, and it maintains extramural departments in several other islands, including Antigua. Those interested in higher education also enroll at schools in the United Kingdom, the United States, Europe and Canada. Antigua's literacy rate is one of the highest in the Eastern Caribbean.