25 Oct. 2020
Weekly Current (archived version)
Thanks for reading, and thanks for caring about education! Welcome to this week’s newsletter on education news in the Cayman Islands.
Week In Review
What have been the consequences of effectively segregating Cayman’s public school system, and having nearly 100% of non-Caymanian children attend private schools? In the very first Viewpoint to be published on the Current, contributor Nichelle Scott explores this question, and argues for allowing non-Caymanians to pay for placements in public schools.
Scott says that separating Caymanians from (often wealthier) ‘future Caymanians’ has negative impacts in the following areas: Caymanian culture, support for public schools, future business relationships, and parent volunteerism in public schools. (Read Scott’s Viewpoint here.)
Do you agree? Disagree? Have a strong opinion about another topic related to education? The community needs your perspective. Contact us to Join The Conversation.
The nonprofit organisation LIFE announced the success of Education For Everyone, a LIFE-led initiative that is providing more than 2,800 laptops and internet access to Cayman public school students. A coalition of public and private entities started the project during the COVID-19 school closure, when it became apparent that the greatest obstacle to virtual learning was the ‘digital divide’ between students who have computers at home, and those who don’t. (Read the story here.) (Read LIFE’s press release here.)
It’s a different story across the pond. The UK government had promised to provide laptops to students who needed them, but last Friday some schools were informed that their allocation of laptops had been cut by about 80%. (Read the report from the BBC here, and from the Guardian here.)
The government has given an acre of land worth $440,000 to University College of the Cayman Islands to help UCCI’s expansion plans. Government bought the land in December 2019 and transferred it to UCCI in June. (Read the story here.) In September, UCCI President and CEO Stacy McAfee told the Current that one possibility for the land expansion could involve new facilities for STEM and vocational training. (Read the interview here.)
Well this escalated quickly. Following a region-wide outcry over lower-than-expected CXC test results, the test administrator commissioned an independent review, which discovered evidence of grade inflation by teachers on ‘school-based assessments’, which accounts for a portion of the final score. The review team also flagged the leaking of exam answers into the public domain before the tests were taken.
The Jamaica Gleaner editorialised, “it is clear … that across the Caribbean teachers were, for years, gratuitously inflating grades for school-based assessments”. (Read the Gleaner’s news story here. And read reports from Trinidad here and Guyana here. Both have paywalls, sorry!) We’ll do some further reporting on the CXC situation this week.
The priest in charge of St. Ignatius Catholic Parish and School has written a letter responding to several concerns raised publicly by the school’s parents, including changes to the school board, the school’s finances, and staff resignations. (Read the story here.)
Around The Web
The Current is a central resource for education journalism by others, including regional and international news relevant to Cayman education. (Find our running collection of links here.)
- The Guardian (UK): UK academics: opening of universities was illegal
- Miami Herald ($): Miami schools COVID cases top 200, Broward tips 100. Charter, private schools impacted.
- Stabroek News (Guyana) ($): $245M Yesu Persaud Clinical Education Centre handed over
- Trinidad Express ($): Pandemic pinch at The UWI
- Eyewitness News (Bahamas): ERROR: Virtual learning challenged during week two
- The Guardian (UK): How can schools educate isolating children if families can’t afford wifi?
- Stabroek News (Guyana) ($): Education: The new normal goes across the board
- Cayman Compass ($): Nearly half of NPOs fail to file annual returns
The Week Ahead
- A look at the Cayman Islands library system and its role in 21st century education
- Update on the new John Gray High School project (plans for the old John Gray/George Hicks campus)
- Analysis of the independent review of CXC exam results
- Highlights from recent secondary school graduation ceremonies