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Educational attainment, Jamaica

Codes and Frequencies

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EDUCJM indicates the person's educational attainment in Jamaica in terms of the level of schooling completed.

Comparability — General

Jamaica has a 6-3-2 system. Primary education comprises 6 years (grades 1-6 or standard 1-6), which are offered either at primary or all-age schools. At the end of primary education, students take an examination to determine the type of secondary school they will attend.

Secondary education has two cycles: first cycle or junior secondary (grades 7-9 or forms 1-3) taught at all-age, junior, or secondary schools, and second cycle (grades 10-11 or forms 4-5) taught at secondary schools. Secondary schools combine both general and vocational types and include the traditional secondary high, senior, new secondary, comprehensive and technical high schools. Some secondary schools offer two additional years (grades 12-13 or form 6) for students taking the General Certificate of Education Advanced level (GCE A-level) examination leading to university entrance.

Post-secondary education includes universities, community colleges, teacher colleges, vocational training centers and institutes, among other institutions. Completion of a bachelor degree entails between 3 to 4 years of studies. Special education refers to schools for persons with disabilities.

The variable is broadly comparable across samples. The universe in Jamaica 1982 is persons in private and selected collective households, in Jamaica 1991 is persons age 4 or older in private and selected collective households, and in Jamaica 2001 is persons age 4 or older. For all census samples, the educational attainment variable collects information on the last type of school attended for persons who ever attended school, so it does not imply completion of the correspondent level. The Jamaica 1982 and 2001 censuses only identify the single categories for primary and secondary schools, while the Jamaica 1991 census provides more variation in types of primary and secondary schools as well as an additional category for commercial or secretarial school.

Special education is separately identified in the Jamaica 1991 and 2001 censuses, but it is included in the "other" category in 1982. Other tertiary includes non-university tertiary institutions and is identified only in the Jamaica 1991 and 2001 censuses. In the Jamaica 1991 census vocational education applies to secondary level institutions with emphasis on skills training (including the heart program), while commercial and secretarial education refers to non-secondary institutions. The "other" category includes non-listed forms of education, including the Jamaica Movement for the Advancement of Adult Literacy (Jamal) program in all censuses and special education in Jamaica 1982 census.

In addition to EDUCJM, the 1982, 1991, and 2001 samples include related unharmonized variables indicating the highest exam passed or qualification obtained.


  • Jamaica 1982: Persons in private and selected collective households
  • Jamaica 1991: Persons age 4+ in private and selected collective households
  • Jamaica 2001: Persons age 4+


  • Jamaica: 1982, 1991, 2001