George Town Central incumbent Kenneth Bryan said parents need more support to assist in their children’s education, and he argued for early identification and direction of students into careers, including vocational trades.
Bryan made his comments on the Cayman Crosstalk radio show Monday. His opponent Frank Cornwall declined to attend.
Bryan said schools aren’t the problem with education; it’s a lack of family support for students.
“I don’t think that our system itself is the issue,” he said.
He said many parents are working harder than ever to make a living, and many don’t have the time, energy or skills required to help their children with schoolwork at the end of a long day.
Bryan said schools should offer free after-school programmes with specialist support, particularly when young students may be going home to an empty house in the afternoons.
“We have to support the parents better. Some of them know they are having difficulties, but where are they going to turn to?” he said.
Answering a question about vocational training, Bryan said not every child can or wants to be a lawyer or a doctor, and many people make good money in industries like construction, although there may be a popular stigma against technical trades.
“I think we have to stop looking at what the perception is and think about it from a financial standpoint,” he said.
Pointing to Jamaica as an example, Bryan said some countries begin to identify, select and direct young students into particular careers that educators think will be best suited for them.
“It’s something I think we should explore here and I think it would be beneficial,” Bryan said.