Overall, education is key to better living. A good education provides a person with the necessary information to put the past into perspective, build a good and successful living in the present and plan for the future. Worldwide, the field of education has known significant changes over the past decades, not only in the school infrastructure, but also in the educational system as a whole. Where the school infrastructure is concerned, over the course of the decades more schools for primary, secondary and tertiary education were built to be able to accommodate a growing number of students.

School participation

The school participation rate in Aruba has for decades been very high, with little difference between males and females. In 2010, the school participation rate of children aged five years and younger increased relative to previous censuses. In total, 45% percent of children aged three years and younger attended a daycare center or play garden and 95.4% of four and five year olds’ attended either a regular preprimary school or a school for special education. The school participation rate of children between 6 and 17 years of age is very high with nearly all children attending school. After the age of 17 years, the school participation rate drops, partly due to the relatively large number of students who leave the island to continue their studies abroad. In 2010, 75% of students who graduated from an educational level with access to tertiary education were granted a study loan and emigrated to continue their studies abroad. Of those who stay on Aruba, only a small group attends school. In 2010, 44% of young adults between 18 and 24 years of age attended school, and 41% was employed.

Educational output

The output of the education system of Aruba as measured by the level of education attained of the Aruban population has known positive developments over the years, given the high school participation rate. However, there is still room for improvement.

Another internationally recognized measure of the accomplishments of the educational system of a country and of the overall level of development of a country is the literacy rate. The literacy rate is defined as the ability to read and write, with understanding, a short simple sentence about one’s daily life. The population of Aruba has known in the recent decades a relatively steady literacy rate, with little difference between males and females. However there remains a group of illiterate people. In 2010 the share of males in the youth illiteracy rate was the greatest. As we can see, the global distribution of adult and youth literacy rate of the population of Aruba is higher compared to the world adult and youth literacy rate as well as the adult and youth literacy rate of the region.