Jamaica is the most populated Caribbean Commonwealth nation, with about 2.7 million people. Literacy rates and enrolment ratios for primary and secondary education are high. 

School-age Population by Education Level1









Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in Secondary Education
for the school year ending 20181









Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in Tertiary Education
for the school year ending 20151









Percentage of female teachers in 1




Secondary (2018)





1. UNESCO Institute for Statistics Data Centre, retrieved in March 2020



Literacy rate (2012)1




Adult (15+) literacy rate


Adult (15+) literacy rate



Economic Activity (2010)1




Adult (15+) economic activity


Adult (15+) economic activity



Political Decision Making (2013)1


Proportion of seats held by women in national parliament



Life expectancy (2012)1









1. COL gender country profile April 2015 


12.4 101
Fixed-telephone subscriptions per 100 inhabitants1 Mobile-cellular subscriptions per 100 inhabitants1



9.7 51.2
Fixed-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants1 Mobile-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants1



36.4 55.1
Households with a computer (%)1 Individuals using the internet (%)1



1. International Telecommunication Union (ITU) ICT Eye Country profile, retrieved in March 2020



The Commonwealth of Learning’s (COL) work in Jamaica is primarily in the areas of gender, higher education, lifelong learning for farmers, teacher education, technical and vocational skills development, and tertiary education, through the Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth. 


Gender is a cross-cutting theme in all of COL's work. COL aims to harness the potential of open and distance learning to expand access to education and improve learning outcomes for girls/women and boys/men by integrating a gender perspective into ODL practice and delivery. The focus is on building capacity for gender mainstreaming amongst partners in both formal and non-formal education. COL supported the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) in Jamaica in the development and implementation of a gender equality policy. This policy will guide RADA in its efforts to mainstream gender in policies, research, extension activities and monitoring and evaluation. Learn more about COL's work on gender equality and gender mainstreaming.

Higher education

COL’s Higher Education initiative works to develop human resources for social and economic development across the Commonwealth. It supports higher education institutions and ministries in capacity building, policy development and curriculum reform. COL is working with University College of the Caribbean (UCC) to offer the Commonwealth Executive Masters in Business Administration and Commonwealth Executive Masters in Public Administration (CEMBA/CEMPA) Programme. UCC also holds a seat on the Executive Governing Board and Academic Board of the programme. Learn more about the Higher Education initiative

Lifelong Learning for Farmers

COL’s Lifelong Learning for Farmers (L3F) initiative empowers farming communities, particularly women, through the use of open and distance learning, linking the process with social and financial capital. COL has partnered with RADA to implement the L3F Programme since 2014. COL is currently supporting RADA on a range of activities that include building staff capacity in instructional design and open and distance learning course development, faciliating capacity building of farming communities and leaders, and developing and delivering mobile-based learning. Learn more about the L3F initiative.

Teacher education

COL’s Teacher Education initiative works with governments, teacher education institutions, teachers and other stakeholders to improve the preparation and development of both teachers and teacher educators. COL, partnering with the Joint Board of Teacher Education in the Caribbean region, is pilot testing diagnostic instruments for identification of children with special learning needs. Learn more about the Teacher Education initiative.

Technical and Vocational Skills Development

The Technical and Vocational Skills Development (TVSD) initiative supports partners to harness technology so as to increase access to improved quality skills training. A key aspect of the programme is the capacity building of partner organisations in course design and materials development. COL is working with the Human Employment and Resources Training Trust, National Training Agency (HEART Trust/NTA) to build the capacity of teachers and managers in flexible skills development. Learn more about the Technical and Vocational Skills Development initiative.

Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth

Jamaica is a member of the Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth (VUSSC). Initiated by and built on the support of Ministers of Education of developing small states of the Commonwealth, VUSSC supports the collaborative development and sharing of open educational resources (OER) to promote learning for sustainable development. Learn more about the VUSSC initiative.


Partnerships are fundamental to COL’s work. Strategic partnerships allow COL to broaden its reach and engage at global, regional and national levels, while implementation partners support COL’s work in communities and institutions across Commonwealth Member States. Partners include multilateral organisations, regional bodies, national governments, government agencies, foundations, civil society organisations, public and private (not-for-profit) institutions and the private sector.

COL's partners in Jamaica include:

  • Christina Potato Growers Cooperative Association
  • Frazer-Cascade Producer and Marketing Organisation (PMO)
  • Joint Board for Teacher Education
  • Ministry of Education, Youth and Information
  • PANOS Caribbean
  • Rural Agricultural Development Authority
  • University Council of Jamaica
  • University of the Commonwealth Caribbean