Expansion of mass primary education: A case study of Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Utrecht University


This thesis investigates the causes of primary school education development and how a primary school system emerged in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago between 1834 and 1940. When the United Kingdom abolished slavery, the metropole implemented educational reforms for the masses of the islands. Educating colonial subjects provided an avenue for British hegemony to be infused into the colonies, as it increased access to metropolitan identity i.e. Language and customs. Studying primary school education in Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago, utilising qualitative and quantitative data, shows how implementing British schooling experienced differences across socially and economically diverse colonies. While Jamaica is considered to be the largest and most developed island in the British West Indies, numerous factors including government underinvestment and data indicate the colony’s primary schooling over the colonial period fell behind Trinidad and Tobago’s efforts. This thesis presents a brief historical overview of primary schools in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago during the period following emancipation. Differences in the islands outcomes derive from local circumstances, government, Religious denominations, and approaches dealing with the economic changes triggered by the Emancipation of slaves.


Table of Contents


Education expansion, Primary education, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Colonial development