The Primary tier of the education system caters largely to students aged five to twelve (5-12). A system of ‘automatic promotion’ sees students moving irrespective of ability from primary to secondary school upon attaining the age of twelve. A formal assessment strategy, known as the ‘test of standards’ is administered to all students of grades three through six each year, and is written simultaneously at all primary schools, and private schools. The results of this test for grade six students are used almost exclusively as the yardstick by which to measure students’ ability to perform at the secondary level, and accordingly, to place students in the first form of the secondary school. In primary school, education is presented at three levels. These are the Infant, Lower Primary and Upper Primary. The Infant Department comprises Kindergarten (K) and Grades 1and 2; the Lower Primary consists of Grades 3 and 4; and the Upper Primary includes Grades 5 and 6. Progression through classes is automatic and on an age basis.
Primary education is designed to meet the basic learning needs of students. In doing so, it is also intended to prepare students to benefit from secondary education. In keeping with this broad aim, primary education is geared towards enabling students to develop essential learning skills and providing them with basic learning content.
It is expected at the end of the primary phase of education that students would have acquired skills in literacy, oral expression, numeracy and problem solving for the next phase of their education. The level of content gained should also equip them with the requisite knowledge, values and attitudes for secondary education.
At the primary level, there are specific objectives and teaching requirements to facilitate the accomplishment of the broad aim of primary education. One objective centers around the need for primary schools to work in partnership with the home and the community. This necessitates the establishment of vibrant Parents-Teachers’ Association (PTAs) discussed below and the involvement of parents and the community in certain curricular and extra-curricular activities. Adoption of some schools by prominent business places and awarding of scholarships to promising and needy students by successful members of society must not go unmentioned either.