Jamaica's estimated illiteracy rate for the year 2000 stands at 13.3% (males, 17.5%; females, 9.3%). In the latter half of the 1990s, the government devoted approximately 12.9% of its budget to education. As of 1999, public expenditure on education was estimated at 6.3% of GDP. In 1997 there were 293,863 primary school students and 9,512 teachers, with a student-toteacher ratio of 31 to 1. Secondary students numbered 235,071 and teachers totaled 10,931 in 1993. The pupil-teacher ratio at the primary level was 30 to 1 in 1999. In the same year, 94% of primary-school-age children were enrolled in school, while 75% of those eligible attended secondary school. Education is compulsory for six years of primary education. At the secondary level, there are two stages, one of three years and one of four.
The University of the West Indies, founded in 1948 as the University College of the West Indies, achieved full university status in 1962 and serves all British Commonwealth Caribbean territories. There are faculties of arts, natural sciences, education, general studies, medicine, law, library studies, management studies, public administration, and social work at Jamaica's Mona campus; arts, natural sciences, social sciences, agriculture, engineering, international relations, and management studies at St. Augustine in Trinidad; and arts and natural sciences in Barbados. Higher technical education is provided at the College of Arts, Science, and Technology. Jamaica also has a school of agriculture, several teacher-training colleges and community colleges, and an automotive training school. At the university level, there were a total of 8,434 students enrolled in 1997.
The Jamaica Movement for the Advancement of Literacy Foundation, known as JAMAL (formerly the National Literacy Board), has reached more than 100,000 students since its founding in 1972.