St. Vincent and the Grenadines - Education
Primary education, which lasts for seven years, is free but not compulsory. In 1994, there are 65 primary schools, enrolling 21,386 students, with 1,080 teaching staff. In general secondary schools the same year, there were 9,870 students and 395 teachers. Secondary education at the first stage is for five years, followed by two more years at the second stage. The government-assisted School for Children with Special Needs serves handicapped students.
At the postsecondary level there are a teachers' training college, affiliated with the University of the West Indies, and a technical college. Adult education classes are offered by the Ministry of Education. Vocational training is available through the Department of Public Works, and agricultural training is offered by the Ministry of Agriculture. Literacy is estimated at 85%. In 1989, students at the university and all higher-level institutions numbered 677 with 96 teaching staff. Nearly 68% of these higher-level students were women. The pupil-teacher ratio at the primary level was 25 to 1 in 1999. In the same year, public expenditure on education was estimated at 6.5% of GDP.