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Trinidad and Tobago - Education and Schools
There are several government run schools as well as some faith schools. Both types of school have a similar curriculum, although religious education is compulsory in faith schools. Students used to sit 'O' Levels and 'A' Levels as they did in the UK, but Trinidad and Tobago switched to the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination in 2004. For those who wish to study at UK universities, these qualifications are recognised as valid entry requirements.
There are kindergartens and nurseries for children below the age of six, although it is not a compulsory part of education. Primary school education begins formally at the age of six. At the age of 11 after taking an entrance examination, children move on to secondary education which operates as in the UK, with several years of study in a range of subjects, then a few years of advanced study in just a few subject areas.
Students also have the option of taking more vocational studies as well as academic subjects. Specialist training offered includes agricultural studies, mechanics, construction and education. There are several international schools in the country if this option is preferred, although these are privately run and fees can run into tens of thousands of dollars.
The University of the West Indies is a favoured option for many students, although courses such as law are always over-subscribed and a lot of students do leave for a university in the UK or the USA. There is also the newly formed University of Trinidad and Tobago which offers many technical and vocational courses which are usually related to the main industries of oil and gas.
Teachers in Trinidad and Tobago must be properly qualified and trained. There is a teacher training institution but some students also choose to train abroad in the UK and the US.
Education and learning is something that the inhabitants of Trinidad and Tobago take very seriously. Many adults continue with education even when they are working, taking advantage of evening classes and distance learning courses.
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