The Barbados government says it is moving ahead with advancing elements of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Single Market and Economy (CSME) including free access to public schools for students from CARICOM countries.
The CSME allows for the free movement of capital, goods, skills, and labour across the regional integration grouping and a government spokesperson said in a statement that the latest move “means that all CARICOM nationals under the age of 16, who reside in Barbados, will be afforded access to government nursery, primary and secondary schools without being charged tuition fees.
“CARICOM students will not be required to have student visas. However, they will pay all fees that are applicable to Barbadians students. This exemption, however, does not extend to post-secondary, vocational nor tertiary level education. In addition, CARICOM students will not qualify to be granted scholarships and exhibitions,” the spokesperson noted.
It said that in addition, at least one parent or one legal guardian must be residing in Barbados under an approved Immigration Status in order to access the tuition-free provision now afforded to CARICOM nationals, namely the Status of Citizen, Permanent Resident, Immigrant, or Reside and Work.
“The elimination of student visas for CARICOM nationals will not remove the requirement to monitor non-nationals in the school system.
“It should be noted that upon their first entry into the Barbadian school system, the parent or legal guardian of the CARICOM non-national child will be required to produce to the Ministry of Education a letter from the Immigration Department confirming that the child qualifies for tuition-free treatment,” the spokesperson said.
It was noted that this requirement of a letter will only apply to a first entry into the school system and not any subsequent transfer to a different school.