Described as ‘the Eton College of Barbados’, Harrison College (http://kolij.org/), ‘Kolij’ as it is also known, is one of the island’s most prestigious co-educational secondary schools.
Founded in 1733, the College takes its name from a successful Bridgetown merchant, Thomas Harrison, who intended for it to serve as a free public school for the poor and less privileged boys from the parish of St. Michael.
Harrison College remained an all-boys school until the early 1980’s, when co-education was introduced.
The College has a very high academic reputation, with the school responsible for the production of at least 65% of all government scholars or exhibition winners.
In fact, since the island’s Independence in 1966, the majority of Barbados’ Prime Ministers have also been alumni of Harrison College.
Since the 1960s, no fees have been attached to study at the College, however entry into the school is via a competitive national placement examination (known as the ’11 plus’), whereby the top academic performers are offered a place to study at Harrison College.
Did you know? Harrison College is one of 22 public secondary schools accredited by the Barbados Ministry of Education.
‘In Deo Fides’ (Trust in God)
With the College campus spread over several acres, the school is located near the nation’s capital of Bridgetown.
Junior School students (Forms 1-3) take a broad range of subjects including English, French, Spanish, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Integrated Science, Geography, History, Woodwork, Metalwork, Music, Art, Religious Studies, Technical Drawing and Physical Education.
In their fourth year of studies, all students start a two year course leading to a Certificate of Secondary Education.
Students are required to take English, Mathematics, one Science subject (Physics, Chemistry or Biology), one Foreign Language (French or Spanish) and one Social Science (History or Geography).
They are also given the choice of two other subjects chosen from Foreign Languages, Science, History or Geography, Art, Technical Drawing, Principles of Business, Principles of Accounts, and Information Technology.
At the end of their fifth year, students write the General Certificate of Secondary Education examination, set by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC).
Most students then continue their studies at a Sixth Form Level however entry is dependent on a satisfactory CXC Examination performance.
Note: There is much more freedom of study at Sixth Form Level, with a range of subjects offered to suit a wide spectrum of interests, university requirements and ability.
Activities at Harrison College
The College grounds include an assembly hall, library, laboratories for music, art, physics, chemistry, and biology, two large playing fields, basketball and tennis courts, headmaster’s and treasurer’s offices, a faculty retreat, as well as an outdoor firing range.
As such, a wide variety of games are offered at the school including cricket, football, lawn and table-tennis, volleyball, netball, basketball, hockey, and swimming.
Such a strong emphasis is placed on athletics and sport at Harrison College, that the school has produced a number of athletes who have represented Barbados at a regional, world and Olympic level.
Music is also emphasised, and the Harrison College ensemble has given public performances, both at home and abroad.
The College also has many societies and clubs available for students’ membership, which includes the Chess Club, Photographic Club, Science Club, Environmental Club, Debating Society, and Inter-School Christian Fellowship.
There is also an active P.T.A and Alumni Association at Harrison College, as well as a sense of community spirit like no other, earning the College its reputation as one of the best schools in Barbados.
Did you know? The number one company of the Barbados Cadet Corps, formerly consisting of students from Harrison College and its sister school Queen’s College, is considered to be the best company in the Cadet Corps, maintaining their number one status time and time again.
Author: Brett Callaghan