The Education Challenges

Although there have been significant advances in education in Jamaica, the existing systems continue to face severe short- comings. Underprivileged children in rural and poor urban areas particularly suffer from unequal access to quality education.

The existing Basic, Primary, Secondary and High School systems fail to provide access to and/or deliver an adequate education to hundreds of thousands of students. Jamaica’s educational system requires transformation in order to provide all children with the opportunity to learn and excel.


The High Cost of Education

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The High Cost of Education

High School: A Critical Problem

A major issue in Jamaica is children's lack of access to High schools. There is no free education in Jamaica after Primary School, which ends with completion of Grade 6.

Children must pass an exam to be admitted into High School. A critical problem is that many bright children pass their exams, but are unable to attend high school because of lack of funds. Many families cannot afford to pay school fees, purchase books, transportation, meals, etc.

CEF grants scholarships to children at all educational levels, but we focus on high school students. Our long-term goal is to ensure that each child who passed her or his exam for high school will be able to attend.

Issues affecting primary schools:

  • • Chronic poor attendance at all levels, leading to high illiteracy.
  • • One out of two Primary School children is illiterate.
  • • Underachievement is greater among boys.

Issues affecting high schools:

  • • Overall attendance is only 65%, leading to chronic underachievement.
  • • 40-50% of students in the system are below their grade level (approximately 300,000 children).
  • • By Grade 9, hundreds of thousands of students, especially boys, cannot read or write.
  • • Many students are functionally illiterate.
  • • Only 20% of secondary graduates are qualified for meaningful employment and/or entry into post secondary programs.