15 Nov. 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
It was practically Christmas in November for us at the Current, as Cayman officials released (preliminary) countrywide results on end-of-secondary standardised exams.
We’ve been unwrapping and unpacking the figures, and we can give you some headline stats:
- 55% — Year 11 public school students achieving 5 or more Level 2 passes, including English and Maths (record high)
- 57% — Students who passed Mathematics (record high)
- 83% — Students who passed English (record high)
- 71% — Students who passed a Science exam (record high)
Congratulations appear to be in order.
The government schools have submitted a relatively small number of requests for review (69) by the Caribbean Examinations Council, so although these results are preliminary, they shouldn’t be expected to change significantly as a result of the reviews. In any case, this year CXC reviewers will only raise or maintain grades as a result of reviews, and won’t be lowering grades upon review.
We’ll continue diving into CXC results in the coming week, and putting the grades into context both historically and internationally.
In our first analysis, we compared Cayman’s test results with regional peers. Here’s what we found:
- Cayman’s pass rates in Maths and English (57% and 83%) are higher than the Caribbean average (52% Maths, 82% English).
- Cayman’s scores are nearest to our geographic neighbour Jamaica (56% Maths, 84% English).
- British Virgin Islands posted the highest pass rate in English, 91%.
- St. Kitts and Nevis posted the highest pass rate in Maths, 60%.
- On the UK-administered GCSEs, the equivalent pass rates among all test takers were 67% in Maths and 71% in English.
To make the numbers easier to visualise, we created a chart and a table. (Take a look at our story here.)
We sat down for coffee with Paul Robinson, Director of the Cayman Islands Public Library Service, and talked about, well … books, mostly … but also information technology, services the library offers, and the general role of libraries in an increasingly online society.
Here are some key takeaways from the interview:
- Libraries have been hallmarks of civilization going back to the Romans, Greeks and before.
- Cayman’s public libraries serve all members of the community, providing information, access to technology, and public meeting spaces, practically for free.
- “I look at the library as a multifunctional resource. We support businesses, we support culture, we support our youth, and it’s also a recreational place. We’re very invested in the community.”
- The schools have their own librarians, but the public librarians do outreach to students, both by visiting classrooms and encouraging students to visit the public libraries.
- “That is our primary bread and butter — to encourage the love of reading. If you were to summarise the whole mission, really, that would be it. That’s what we get paid for.”
- In addition to 70,000 ‘hardcopy’ books, the public library has 33,000 e-books; 1,500 online journals; and subscriptions to 2 online academic databases.
- One initiative of the library is to promote information literacy, and teach people how to find and assess the reliability of information within the library system and online.
- The library gives patrons free access to computers, internet and printers.
- “If you’re looking for a job, for example, or if you need to fill in an application form, or you need to get access to information about what you need to do with your future, it’s there in a library because it’s a free way of finding information.”
- The libraries have several meeting spaces (the largest being the historic library, which can host 100 people) that are free to reserve for government agencies and community events. Businesses can reserve the meeting spaces for $275 a day.
- “A library should be a democratic place. It should be open, and it’s for people to open their minds. Although it’s physically meant to be quiet, it isn’t intellectually meant to be quiet. It’s meant to be very noisy intellectually, and it’s meant to engage people’s minds.”
The University College of the Cayman Islands held its graduation ceremony 5 Nov., with Health Services Authority medical director Dr. Delroy Jefferson delivering the commencement address. About 150 of the graduating class of 200 attended the ceremony. The Class of 2020 valedictorian is Kimberly Czantal S.J. Tigley. (Read the press release here.)
Speaking of college graduates, WORC is hosting a job fair for college students and graduates this Tuesday and Wednesday. The event takes place at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort. (Read the press release here.)
Finally, we’d like to offer our condolences to the family of Jacqueline Hydes, who passed away 27 Oct. Mrs. Hydes was the owner/manager of Tiny Tots Academy. (Read a tribute to Mrs. Hydes from LIFE here.)
Around The Web
The Current is a central resource for education journalism by others, including regional and international news relevant to Cayman education. (Find our running collection of links here.)
- The Guardian (UK): Pandemic drives ebook and audiobook sales by UK publishers to all-time high
- The Guardian (UK): Fears ‘economic hit squad’ will use Covid crisis to kill off some UK universities
- The Virgin Islands Daily News: Hundreds of students still lack key online tools
- Stabroek News (Guyana): Trinidad cuts scholarship programme, tuition aid
- Trinidad Express ($): EDITORIAL | Cut to GATE funding a backward step for education system
- Jamaica Observer: UWI to confer honorary degrees on 14 Caribbean nationals
- Jamaica Observer: UWI STAT makes a footprint for progress
- Cayman Life: Back in Action!
- Cayman Compass ($): My Cayman 2.0: Cayman could be a virtual college town
- Cayman Compass ($): Inspectors rate 2 preschools ‘satisfactory’
- Cayman Compass ($): 69 Cayman CXC exam results under review
- Cayman Compass ($): Anxiety and hope for class of 2020
- Cayman News Service: ‘Modest’ improvement in school exam results
The Week Ahead
- Further analysis of Cayman Islands CXC results