14 Feb. 2021
Weekly Current (archived version)
Introducing the Schools Explorer, our comprehensive guide to Cayman’s Schools. Preview of our plans to highlight education during the April election. Quality Child Care gets follow-through inspection report. And more!
Welcome to this week’s newsletter on education in the Cayman Islands.
Week In Review
This week we officially launched the Cayman Islands School Explorer, which we hope will become the country’s go-to information resource on local schools.
As of Sunday afternoon, as we are writing this newsletter, we have completed 20 of the eventual 50-plus entries on Cayman schools. We are continuing to work on it, and we hope to have the directory complete in the next week.
You can use the Schools Explorer to find out publicly available data on each school, including basic contact information, student demographics, staffing numbers, performance on government inspections, relevant news content, and more.
We think this information will be useful for parents considering different schools for their children, for parents who want to keep up-to-date on their children’s existing schools, for members of the education community, and, generally, for anyone interested in Cayman’s education system. (Hint: If you’re reading this newsletter, then that probably includes you!)
Please take a look, and let us know what you think. We value your feedback.
***Editor’s Note: Like all of our content, the Schools Explorer project is free to the public. However, it’s not free for us to create. We are seeking sponsors for the Schools Explorer and other products (such as this newsletter), and generally to enable our operations. We are grateful for our supporters, such as Founding Sponsor Broadhurst Law Firm. Without the backing of the community, including financial contributions, the Current cannot achieve its mission to improve education in Cayman. We need your help! Please visit our Donations Page for more information, or email email@example.com.***
Clearly, the biggest story in the Cayman Islands last week was the announcement of Premier Alden McLaughlin’s decision to dissolve the local Parliament and hold a snap election on 14 April, which is 6 weeks earlier than the original general election date of 26 May.
Along with candidates, voters and, well, just about everyone else in the territory, the earlier election date will impact the Current’s approach to the political campaign. Basically, it accelerates and compresses our plans.
What doesn’t change is our goal — to elevate education to become the #1 issue in the campaign. Our reasoning is simple. Education must be given the highest priority because it is the most important issue facing Cayman, or any society.
Consider the following:
- Education is the single-largest item in the Cayman Islands government’s budget, accounting for $95 million per year, or greater than 12% of government’s core spending.
- Education affects every aspect of society, including healthcare, public safety, the economy, democracy, political stability, etc.
- Education is the key for each individual in society to access a rewarding career, have personal security, gain greater freedoms, etc.
The Current is not a partisan organisation, and we will always treat education as an issue of policy, not politics. We also do not publish our own institutional opinions on education — beyond emphasising that our mission is to improve the education system in Cayman through our public service journalism.
During the campaign, we will proceed along several fronts in order to highlight education as an issue of utmost importance. This includes:
- Candidate education platforms: We will give every declared candidate the same opportunity to detail their stance on education on the Current’s website. Each candidate will be given a page on our site to share their thoughts, views and/or plans for education — and this can be in the form of a letter, a mini-manifesto, a Q+A, a video, etc. We want to allow candidates to speak to voters, as directly as possible, about their vision for education.
- Candidate education news and events: We will be monitoring candidates’ appearances and statements in other media, to extract and highlight their positions on education, in the form of stories on the Current. We will also be asking questions of candidates and proactively engaging them on education for news stories. Additionally, we hope to be involved in events such as candidate forums, in order to increase the profile of education as an issue during those events. (On this last point, we are engaging with other organisations on forming partnerships.)
- Community views and opinions: We want the views of voters (and non-voting residents) to influence or even drive the conversation on education in Cayman. Please reach out to us to contribute a viewpoint, suggest topics for stories or give general feedback.
The above is just a preview of our basic approach to the campaign. We’re sure we’ll have more ideas along the way, but most of all we want to hear from you. Together we can spotlight the issue of education and bring it to the forefront of priorities for candidates, and voters.
(Stay tuned …)
Quality Child Care Preschool has made overall ‘Weak’ progress in addressing recommendations from the Office of Education Standards. The school on Powell Smith Road in West Bay had been rated ‘Weak’ by inspectors in September 2019. The school made ‘Satisfactory’ progress on 3 recommendations and ‘Weak’ progress on 3 others.
More from the Current:
- Cayman Brac and Little Cayman primary schools held a combined Sports Day at the Cayman Brac Sports Complex.
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.)
- Cayman Compass ($): Huge turnout for John Gray career fair
- Cayman News Service: Private SEN school ‘weak’ say inspectors
- Laurel Leader Call (US): William Carey partners with Caribbean Baptist seminary
- The Guardian (UK): Careers in law: why apprenticeships are being embraced by the elite profession
- Jamaica Observer: EDITORIAL | Abandon the school year? Rubbish, Mr MP!
- Jamaica Observer: Munro College reverts to online teaching after COVID-19 positive cases
- Miami Herald ($): This teacher taught me the stories of Blacks that weren’t written in the history books
The Week Ahead
- Schools Explorer, completing our comprehensive guide to Cayman’s schools