Social Inclusion in Education in the Commonwealth Caribbean

  • Zellynne JenningsEmail author
Living reference work entry


The Commonwealth Caribbean comprises mostly small island states which have a common history of colonial dependency as slave plantation economies in the British Empire. While they all are signatories to “Education for All” and are committed to inclusion and goals of equality of opportunity, equity and the improvement of quality, traditional attitudes that encourage exclusion of certain students in the education system persist as hangovers from the colonial experience. The theoretical premise adopted in this chapter is an interpretation of inclusion as a process which necessitates the presence, participation and achievement of all students. It is also argued that inclusion intersects with other concepts such as access, equity, quality and social justice. Drawing on a variety of sources including Ministry of Education documents, doctoral theses and published research, this chapter examines five interventions introduced into Commonwealth Caribbean (CC) education systems to address such exclusionary practices as the marginalization of students on the basis of social class, gender, and their geographical location. These interventions are the Grade 10–11 program and the Reform of Secondary Education (Jamaica); Edutech 2000 (Barbados); The Hinterland Teacher Training program (Guyana); and the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (15 CC countries). Challenges to the achievement of social inclusion are discussed. These include conflicts of interest between the users of the intervention and the developers, socially differentiated curricula which results in poorer quality curricula being offered to the lower social class and a lack of understanding of inclusion by key actors. Amongst these are teachers whose attitudes and treatment of students in their classrooms results in their marginalization and exclusion from studying certain subjects. The chapter ends by highlighting some drivers for social inclusion, such as the desire for upward social mobility through education and inhibitors such as limited financial resources which necessitate a dependency on external aid. Another inhibitor is decision-making which is uninformed by research data. Given that the achievement of expected outcomes of some of the interventions was negatively impacted by a reliance on speed and hasty transactions the author emphasizes the importance of adequate time being given to interventions in education and particularly to those with the goal of inclusion, given that the latter is a process and takes time.


Caribbean Inclusion Interventions Education Equity Gender Cultural relevance Quality learning 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationThe University of the West IndiesKingstonJamaica

Section editors and affiliations

  • David John Matheson
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Health, Education and Well-beingUniversity of WolverhamptonWalsallUK

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