Antigua and Barbuda education system explained: Schools & universities

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Disruption in schooling. That’s what people fear when they think about moving countries. Transferring your children between schools can be a complex endeavor. Thankfully, we have the guide in Antigua and Barbuda education system.

Even if the Citizenship by Investment or Residency by Investment Program don’t require you to stay in Antigua and Barbuda for extended periods of time, charmed with the beauty of the islands you might also be considering a physical relocation to the country.

It’s normal that you’ll have many more questions regarding such a move, many of which consider not just your own wellbeing, but also the wellbeing of your family. For example, many of Relocate Antigua clients ask us about Antigua’s education system.

Whether you’re looking for private schools in Antigua or a local Montessori school, Antigua and Barbuda delivers opportunities across the board.

Antigua education basics

All matters to do with education are handled by MoEST, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, one of whose divisions is the Board of Education. Antigua’s school year is composed of three terms:

  • First term starts around September and ends in around mid-December
  • Second term starts in January and lasts until around April
  • The third term begins mid-April and lasts until July

Here are several more facts about Antigua’s education system:

  • Education in Antigua is compulsory until the age of 16 , and children from the age of 5 can be enrolled in primary schools.
  • Because the national language of Antigua and Barbuda is English, lessons are held in English too.
  • Many schools teach Spanish as a foreign language.
  • The Antigua Education Act establishes that each school day in public and assisted private school should begin with collective worship.
    • The worship is not distinctive of any particular religious denomination.
    • The parents can request the student to be exempt from attending collective worship or religious education classes.
  • Parents are also allowed to homeschool their children , but they have to provide the Director of Education with their educational plan based on the national curriculum. They have to submit their plan for re-approval on an annual basis.

If you need assistance complying with Antigua’s education requirements, book a consultation at Relocate Antigua. We’ll also be happy to assist in the school transfer by providing certified translation of your children’s certificates and documents.

Antigua Education: Primary and secondary schools

There are many private schools, in Antigua education system, both on a primary and secondary level. You can find a full list here, and see them on a map on the MoEST website, to help you figure out which school is most convenient for your location.

At the end of secondary education children sit a CSEC examination (Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate), which is graded on a six-point scale. Students can choose between 33 subjects, 28 of which are offered at a General Proficiency and five at a Technical Proficiency level.

Grades I-III are treated a sufficient entry requirement for tertiary education, such as universities, community colleges, and similar.   Antigua and Barbuda Education Statistical Digest reports CSEC results, listing percentages of students who passed different numbers of CSEC exams.

Looking for a private international school in Antigua?

If you’re after a private international school in Antigua, there are two best choices.

● Island Academy International (IA)

The IA covers teaching on the primary and secondary levels, and is also the only school on the island that offers the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. The school has (limited) scholarships—one student each year has their tuition covered by donors.

To apply to join the school, you need to complete a long set of documents. Your kids will also need to take part in an interview and a screening assessment.

The number of students in the school is kept under 280. Make sure you plan to complete the application procedures ahead of time to secure a place for your child.

● St. Anthony’s Secondary School (SAAS)

St. Anthony’s offers three separate academic programs: secondary level, post-secondary level— a two-year program between high school and university—and special needs teaching. The latter is tailored for students with dyslexia, AD(H)D, and high functioning autism (among others).

Apart from relevant documentation, the application process for SAAS includes a written test in both math and English, as well as interviews with prospective students and their parents.

Many of Relocate Antigua clients are also inquiring about a Montessori School. Antigua offers one institution like that—The Montessori School Antigua, a preschool for children between two and five years of age.

Based on 2015 results  the three top public schools, where the highest percentage of students passed five or more CSEC subjects and received an A+ grade in English were:

1. Antigua Girls’ High (AGHS)
2. Antigua Grammar School (AGS)

While the best three private schools by this metric in Antigua were:

  • Baptist Academy (BA)
  • Christ the King (CKHS)
  • St. Joseph’s Academy (SJA)
  • All Saints Secondary School(ASSS)

Source: Unicef

Higher education in Antigua

Antigua and Barbuda is home to several universities:

● Antigua State College offers courses in a wide range of subjects, and includes the Department for Continuing Education that caters to those who want to enhance their skills, but can’t commit to attending full university program.
● The University of West Indies is a university with campuses across the Caribbean. It also runs an open campus in Antigua and Barbuda.

What is more, the country is highly-focused on the higher education in the field of medicine.

There are two medical schools on the island:

● The University of Health Sciences Antigua (UHSA)
● American University of Antigua (AUA)

AUA is the best known American school in Antigua. It’s important to note that it’s one of the schools approved and accredited in several US states. This means that AUA graduates are eligible for residency and licensure throughout the USA and Canada.

Ready to take the next step?

Make sure your children don’t suffer a major disruptive break in their school year during your relocation process. Book a consultation with Relocate Antigua to ensure a frictionless transition.

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