Education in the Bahamas

In light of previous posts that discussed education in other countries, I felt that as the sole representative of the Bahamas I would share a little information regarding our educational system. I included a 2005 report prepared for UNESCO and IESALC that outlines higher education in the Bahamas (Link below). From the World Bank report, the Bahamas has a little of 347,000 inhabitants.  Therefore, it should be expected that with the population of Virginia Tech roughly being 9% (30k), Liberty University roughly being 33% (100k) and the University of Phoenix roughly being 89% (300k) of our total population, it is easy to see why the report mentioned above indicates the College of the Bahamas (COB) as our only considerable University in the Bahamas of which I am a proud alumnus. I won’t go into the detail of the report, but I will give you my account of how the educational system works in the Bahamas which does not skew drastically from the United States system, as some other countries may have and I will start from Kindergarten through the common end point of a Bachelors degree from the College of the Bahamas; however other institutions such as Nova Southeastern University, University of Miami and the University of the West Indies have graduate offerings provided via an branch campus (usually not in a stand-alone building).

Here’s my best attempt to define education in the Bahamas:

Grade School

1) Gradation of K-12 education is exactly how it is put, in most cases schools start at either Kindergarten and develop from grades 1-12.  The only difference between the Bahamas and the US is that it separates the schools in terms of primary (K-6) and secondary (7-12) education whereas, if I am correct, the US goes elementary (K-5) middle (6-8) and high (9-12) school. Oh BTW, no A/C i.e. heated learning! (This goes for most of the College of the Bahamas and other vocational/training institutions as well, so count your blessings).

2) Every 3 years essentially, there is a standardized test which is GLAT (grade level assessment test) for grades 3 and 6, BJC (Bahamas Junior Certificate) in grade 9 and the BGCSE (Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education) in grade 12, which is usually the basis for admittance into COB and for scholarship application.

3) The SAT is mandatory at some schools, however the curriculum is not prepared for SAT accomodation.

Higher Education

1) As previously mentioned, the College of the Bahamas is the main institution for Higher Education, although there are other institutions that are public and private that includes the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (Certificates) the Bahamas Baptist Community College (Associates Degrees), Success Training College (AA) Atlantic College (AA) Galilee College (AA) etc.

2) There are other institutions that provide MA degrees such as mentioned above that includes UWI, NOVA and UM.

3) What I find most about the Higher Education system in the Bahamas is that it is mainly preparatory for international education especially in technical fields. Usually, this caters to institutions in the US, Canada, the UK and on some occasions Cuba (medical school).

For example: The engineering program in COB is an AA degree called pre-engineering. In pre-engineering, all of the foundational courses of engineering students are offered that are common of all engineering programs. Additionally, for a Construction Management student, one may take Civil Engineering Technology prior to entering a CM program in the US, Canada or UK etc.

4) The population usually comprises of Bahamian students, however other students usually enroll from other close Caribbean nations and some from other parts of the world such as Zambia, India and the UK.

5) The populous at COB is 8,700 students and as I recall, my class sizes were no bigger than 30, if it was it felt like a huge class.

6) 3 credit hours would accumulate to 4 in class hours a week  and a 4 credit hour course would be roughly 6 course hours a week.

7) Tuition is roughly $150 per credit, so roughly full time tuition would be $1800 for Bahamian nationals and for non-Bahamians it is $200 per credit hour so roughly $2400 for a full-time semester.

8) The Bahamas, if it wasn’t already gather from the previous information provided follows the same degree nomenclature in assigning degrees in the US etc. such as AA, BA, MA.

9) In transferring to the US, a 3rd party agency evaluated the coursework performed in the Bahamas against the coursework in the US for transfer of credits.

By no means is this list exhaustive or the same for everyone else, however I am drawing a blank right now regarding what else I can talk about so if you have any questions, please feel free to let me know.


Link to World Bank Report on Population of the Bahamas

Link to PDF Report on Higher Education in the Bahamas

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