Bodden Town East candidate Osbourne Bodden said the Cayman Islands education system is facing the same set of issues that have been known for decades. He said the establishment of a trade school is long overdue.
Bodden made his remarks on the Cayman Crosstalk radio show on Friday. His opponent, the incumbent Dwayne Seymour, declined to attend.
Seymour participated in an earlier forum hosted by the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce. Bodden did not attend that forum.
On the radio, Bodden responded to a question about technical and vocational training by reading an excerpt from a letter he had written to the Compass 10 years ago.
In that letter, Bodden discussed “making sure we get a proper education system in this country. It must be available to all. It must be affordable to all. It must be a comprehensive one where no child falls through the proverbial crack anymore.”
The letter refers to the need to prepare Caymanians to participate fully in the local economy, to identify children with special abilities and needs early in their lives, and to ensure that social issues are addressed in the home.
Bodden said he has been speaking to quite a few veteran teachers during the campaign about their concerns. “The things that they address are the same things that bother me,” he said.
Bodden said there are many children who are more suited to vocational training than academic education, but they are nonetheless being pushed along the same track, and then when they do not succeed are perceived as “failures”.
“For us to not have a technical and vocational school at this time in our country, a fully funded and proper one, there’s no excuse,” he said.
Bodden noted that Prospect candidate Michael Myles has established the Inspire Cayman training centre, and that it doesn’t receive government support. He said that “is an indictment again on the government”.