Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, 234 kilometres (145 mi) in length and as much as 80 kilometres (50 mi) in width, amounting to 11,100 km2. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about 145 kilometres (90 mi) south of Cuba, and 190 kilometres (120 mi) west of Hispaniola, the island harboring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Its indigenous Arawakan-speaking Taíno inhabitants named the island Xaymaca, meaning the “Land of Wood and Water”, or the “Land of Springs”. Formerly a Spanish possession known as Santiago, it later became the British Crown colony of Jamaica. With 2.8 million people, it is the third most populous anglophone country in North America, after the United States and Canada. It remains a Commonwealth realm with Queen Elizabeth II as Head of State. Kingston is the largest city in Jamaica and the country’s capital.
Deteriorating economic conditions during the 1970s led to recurrent violence as rival gangs affiliated with the major political parties evolved into powerful organized crime networks involved in international drug smuggling and money laundering. Violent crime, drug trafficking, and poverty pose significant challenges to the government today.(CIA WFB).
The emancipation of the slaves heralded in the establishment of the Jamaican education system for the masses. Prior to emancipation there were few schools for educating locals. Many sent their children off to England to access quality education.
After emancipation the West Indian Commission granted a sum of money to establish Elementary Schools, now known as All Age Schools. Most of these schools were established by the churches.