The Evolution of the Education System in the Caribbean

Island Neighbours with Alicia Valasse – Polius and Marie-Louise Benjamin

The Education System in the Caribbean is quickly evolving. Hybrid learning is becoming normal for most.  Gone are the days when the islands were blessed only with local institutions, outdated curricula and pedagogy and local instructors.

Often, one could hear high schools students joking about the number of foreign West Indians in St. Lucia when school breaks emerged. The UWI and other local community colleges constituted the tertiary world in the region and only students born with a genetic, golden spoon would attend these institutions without show of intellectual prowess. The naturally gifted students who would inevitably win the scholarships were the exception to the rule of course.

Today, a different scenario exists. Many foreign educational institutions have invaded the shores of the Island Neighbours. In St. Lucia, we are blessed with several foreign medical schools as well as institutions which offer broader academic and vocational areas of study. These include Monroe College, Spartan Health Sciences University, UWI Open Campus and the Spartan College of Arts and Sciences which offers a Pre-Medical Programme. Dominica is home to the Ross University School of Medicine. This institution, which was founded in 1978, boasts more than 10 000 alumni with nearly 90 % of its student population from the United States. Martinique and Guadeloupe are also blessed with many local and foreign institutions which provide a range of areas for study: culinary arts, visual arts, sciences and foreign languages.

Most educational institutions within the Island Neighbours are moving online. While many continue to debate the advantages and limitations of such an educational setting, the fact remains that advancements in many fields dictate that our Education System must evolve to meet the needs of the current job markets.

Neighbourly GetAways

Before setting off for their vacation to Martinique, travellers should check with their insurance companies to see if your policy covers travelling overseas. Also, don’t forget to bring insurance information such as you insurance I.D. card and claim forms. Many insurance companies don’t provide coverage for their clients while abroad, and if they do, most won’t cover the costs of emergency evacuation from the island. If your insurance coverage is not valid while you are in Martinique, travellers can purchase supplemental insurance while overseas in case of any illness while on your vacation. For minor health concerns, carry a Travel Medical Kit containing the following items:

•   Painkillers including acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen;

•   Antihistamines;

•   Antacids;

•   Rubbing alcohol;

•   Bandages;

•   Thermometer

•   Face Masks and/or shield

If you must bring prescription medication with you, pack them in their clearly labeled original containers. Designed pill boxes may not make it through customs. Additionally, include a prescription slip or note from your physician explaining you need for the medication.

While most vacationers usually remain healthy while vacationing in Martinique, and there are no vaccination requirements to enter the country, there are a few health issues that may affect travellers. Here are some of the most common dangers that tourist face on the island:

•   Overexposure to the sun is one of the greatest dangers to vacationers. Remember to use sunscreen with adequate SPF protection for your skin, and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration;

•   Insect bites are also a problem for people spending a lot of time outside. Make sure to wear mosquito repellent to keep those pesky bugs away;

•   When going barefoot on the beach, or wading in shallow waters be aware of sea urchins and jell fish that can cause nasty injuries to your feet;

•   Travellers should be up to date on common vaccinations like Hepatitis A and B, tetanus, and measles boosters, before traveling to foreign countries.

While enjoying your vacation in Martinique, be sure to remember these medical and safety tips in order to stay healthy while soaking up the sun on your island getaway.


Historical note!  Health care in Guadeloupe is rated good, there are 5 modern hospitals and approximately 23 clinics. Get to know your neighbours!

A bit of the French for the Visitor

A la pharmacie

Expiry date – la date d’expiration

Pilla – la pilul

Skincare – les soins pour la peau

Syrup  – le sirop

Dosage – la posologie

Syringe– le seringue

Sanitary Napkin – la Serviette hygiènique

Panty liner  – Le protége-slip

Side Effects  – les effets secondaires

Painkiller  – l’analgésique

Travel Sickness Pills  – Le cachet antiaupathique

Dental Care  – les soins dentaires

Vitamines  – les vitamines

Capsule  – le gélule

Ointment  – la pommade

Drops  – les gouttes

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