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Expat Exchange - Educational System in Dominica
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Scotts Head, Dominica

Educational System in Dominica

By Joshua Wood, LPC

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Summary: The one tip that you hear expats living in Dominica repeatedly sharing with newcomers is not to buy a home when you first move to Dominica. Rent for a few months or longer so that you have time to find the right neighborhood. Give yourself time to ensure that Dominica is right for you for the long term. If you've already taken time to do those things and are ready to take the plunge and become a property owner, here are tips about buying a home in Dominica.

Relocating to a new country can be a daunting experience, especially when it comes to understanding the educational system for your children. This guide aims to provide expats with a comprehensive overview of the educational system in Dominica, a beautiful island nation in the Caribbean. Dominica's education system is based on the British model and is compulsory from ages 5 to 16. The language of instruction is English, making it easier for expats from English-speaking countries. However, there are several key aspects to consider, including the stages of education, enrollment process, language requirements, public and private schooling options, and the possibilities of homeschooling and online schooling.

What are the main stages of education in Dominica?

The education system in Dominica is divided into three main stages: primary education, secondary education, and tertiary education. Primary education is further divided into infant (ages 5-7) and junior (ages 8-12) stages. Secondary education caters to students aged 13-16, while tertiary education includes community colleges and the Dominica State College.

Primary Education

Primary education in Dominica is compulsory and caters to children aged 5 to 12. It is divided into two stages: infant stage (ages 5-7) and junior stage (ages 8-12). The curriculum focuses on basic literacy, numeracy, and social skills. Subjects taught include English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Physical Education.

Secondary Education

Secondary education in Dominica caters to students aged 13 to 16. The curriculum is more comprehensive, with subjects including English, Mathematics, Sciences, Social Studies, Modern Languages, and Technical and Vocational subjects. At the end of secondary school, students sit for the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exams.

Tertiary Education

Tertiary education in Dominica includes community colleges and the Dominica State College. These institutions offer a range of academic, technical, and vocational programs. Some students also choose to study abroad, particularly in the United States, Canada, or the United Kingdom.

How does a newcomer from a different country enroll their kids in school?

To enroll your child in a Dominican school, you will need to provide a birth certificate, immunization records, and proof of residence. If your child has previously attended school, you should also provide academic records or transcripts. It's advisable to contact the school directly for specific enrollment procedures as they may vary.

Can children still learning English enroll in a public school?

Yes, children who are still learning English can enroll in public schools in Dominica. The language of instruction in all schools is English, and additional language support is typically provided for non-native speakers.

Are there public bilingual schools?

While there are no public bilingual schools in Dominica, some private schools offer bilingual programs. These schools typically have more resources to support students in learning both English and French, the two main languages spoken in Dominica.

What types of private schools are common in Dominica?

Private schools in Dominica include religious schools, international schools, and bilingual schools. These schools often have smaller class sizes and additional resources compared to public schools. However, they also have higher tuition fees.

Do expats typically send their children to public or private school?

Expats in Dominica typically choose private schools for their children due to the smaller class sizes, additional resources, and often, a more international curriculum. However, this decision largely depends on personal preferences and financial considerations.

How expensive are Private schools in Dominica?

The cost of private schools in Dominica varies widely depending on the school and the level of education. On average, annual tuition fees can range from $1,000 to $5,000 USD. It's advisable to contact the school directly for accurate fee structures.

Are you allowed to homeschool while living in Dominica?

Yes, homeschooling is allowed in Dominica. However, parents or guardians choosing to homeschool their children must ensure that the education provided meets the standards set by the Ministry of Education.

May kids attend online school instead of a local school while living in Dominica?

Yes, online schooling is an option in Dominica, especially for expat families who may be living in the country temporarily or those who prefer an international curriculum. However, it's important to ensure that the online school is accredited and that the curriculum meets the educational standards of your home country.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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Scotts Head, Dominica

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