Slaves and their offspring were given little more than religious instruction. Indeed, in 1797 a law in Barbados made it illegal to teach reading and writing to slaves. (mangabay.com)
There were basically three classes of people in the Caribbean Islands in the 19th century (1800s). These were wealthy English whites, poor whites and non-whites, slaves. The slaves were forbidden education except for religious precepts, reading and writing being outlawed as late as 1797. The wealthy whites most often were sent to England to be educated at "public schools" (elite private schools) for sons or other boarding schools for sons and daughters. Some young men traveled to the North American colonies to be educated there at one of the colonial charter schools like Harvard or the College of William and Mary. Poor whites and non-whites were educated at local religious schools, while the sons and daughters of moderately wealthy whites were educated at elite schools on the islands.
Later, after compulsory education was mandated in England in 1880, a wave of educational reform swept the Caribbeans when school boards made primary through limited secondary education available throughout. Teacher colleges were established and examinations were standardized and authorized. Education fell under the control of competing religious churches of Protestant and Catholic belief. Texts, subjects and examinations continued to be exclusively British in origin and content as in all British colonies.