Two candidates for open seat in Savannah said segregation of the school system is a problem that needs to be addressed.
During a debate aired on Cayman Crosstalk on Wednesday, Malcolm Eden and Jeanna Williams also discussed the importance of increased opportunities for technical and vocational education.
A third candidate, Heather Bodden, declined to attend the Crosstalk debate. All three candidates participated in an earlier forum hosted by the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce.
Eden, the son of retiring incumbent Anthony Eden, said he is a product of the Cayman public school system when both Caymanians and non-Caymanians were allowed to attend.
“I believe that the separation and what we have today is something that we have to address,” he said.
“This is something that needs a dramatic change. We need to revisit the entire system that we have,” Eden said.
He said that the separation of Caymanians and non-Caymanians in schools is leading to issues with Caymanians not being able to find work.
“There are situations where just the fact that you are a Caymanian means that you’re blacklisted,” Eden said.
Williams said she promotes ‘inclusive education’ for all children regardless of nationality or disabilities.
She said there is an issue with the private schools not being regulated, “so they’re basically run as businesses and they can make decisions as they please. And it’s not a good situation for the parents. It’s not a good situation for the children”.
She said segregation has no place in a Christian country and that mixing with students from all over the world is “a real opportunity for our Caymanian children”.
Eden said, “Cayman is one of the few countries in the world where in my view there’s no racial discrimination.”
He said, “There’s no place in the school system for segregation.”
Williams said, “There is some racism that is alive and well in Cayman.”
She said children are absorbing those views from their parents. “That needs to be done away with completely as a society,” she said.
On the subject of vocational training, Eden said he’s a staunch supporter of additional TVET opportunities. He said he supports having a dedicated vocational trade school for students after high school.
Williams said basic classes such as woodworking and home economics should be reintroduced into the school curriculum. She said it would be beneficial for existing TVET courses, such as those offered by UCCI, to have a higher public profile.