21 Nov. 2021
Weekly Current (archived version)
Significant pay raise for UCCI Board of Governors. Former UCCI board member shares Viewpoint on UCCI funding. Updated scholarship opportunities for local students.
Welcome to this week’s newsletter on education in the Cayman Islands.
Week In Review
The UCCI Board of Governors have received a significant pay raise, with new board chair Gilbert McLean set to earn $48,000 per year and each member $12,000 per year.
That is a massive increase from the previous ‘stipend’ amount, which was roughly $1,000 per year.
Cabinet approved the pay increase during its 9 Nov. meeting, effective 1 Sept., which coincides with the appointment of McLean as board chair.
The new stipend amounts are as follows:
- Chairman — $4,000 per month
- Deputy Chairman — $2,000 per month
- Members — $1,000 per month.
Several members of the board are public or civil servants, and as such, they are not eligible to receive stipend payments for serving on public boards.
In total the 8 members of the board from the private sector would be compensated about $144,000 per year in total.
The board’s increased pay is being funded by a quarter-million dollar reduction in student scholarships.
The reduction in scholarships will also pay for an Executive Secretary to the UCCI Board, a human resources audit for UCCI and recruitment costs, a government spokesperson told the Current.
The spokesperson said the increased stipend brings the UCCI board “in line with some other Boards across the Government”.
The majority of public board members in Cayman either serve without monetary compensation or are paid stipends in the range of $100-$200 per meeting, according to a January 2019 report from the Office of the Auditor General.
The increased pay for the UCCI board makes McLean one of the most well-compensated public board members, on par with board chairs of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, Utilities Regulatory and Competition Office (aka OfReg) and the Auditors Oversight Authority.
The spokesperson added that the UCCI board has a greater workload than before and plans to increase the frequency of its meetings to a minimum of once per month.
Following the publication of the stories on the UCCI board pay hike, former UCCI board member Tom Simpson submitted a Viewpoint letter where he argues for shifting resources for overseas scholarships to UCCI.
“Although there are almost ten times as many students at UCCI than overseas scholarship students, UCCI local scholarship students receive only about 10 percent of scholarship monies budgeted for all CIG scholarship students. In fact, the CIG overseas scholarship budget is also far greater than the entire government operating grant to UCCI,” Simpson writes.
He continues, “Increase UCCI tuition fees to current overseas market rates, reflecting a fair share of the cost of education. Stop awarding local scholarships for high marks and start giving them based on a student’s actual financial needs.”
In his letter, Simpson also notes that during his time on the UCCI board, he and other board members donated their stipends “to a UCCI endowment fund recommended by then President Roy Bodden.”
He concludes, “If the tradition of UCCI board member giving continues, the pay increases to private sector board members announced in your story now give them even greater wherewithal to lead by example.”
Simpson and wife Beverley established UCCI’s Community Engagement Programme, which awards US$50,000 per year in needs-based scholarships to students.
Patrick Brendel of the Cayman Current and April Cummings of Cayman Life TV discuss the UCCI board pay raise and the context around it, including if an “on-paper” reduction in scholarship funding is meaningful unless it actually results in students not receiving scholarships who otherwise would have.
They also talk about Cayman Life TV’s latest ‘Classroom of the Month‘, which isn’t a traditional in-school classroom at all.
Also on the scholarships front, the Ministry of Education has opened the application period for the government’s Overseas Scholarships programme.
Caymanian students have until 31 Jan. 2022 to apply for funding for the 2022/2023 academic year.
Here are the government’s 3 Overseas Scholarships:
- Undergraduate — maximum of $30,000 per year
- Graduate (i.e. masters or doctorate) — $35,000 per year
- Cayman Scholars Award (to the top male and female undergraduate applicants) — $100,000 per year for an ‘Ivy League or Gold Tiered University’.
And we’ve been busy little bees lately at the Current, working to update our Cayman Islands Scholarships Directory.
Right now, the directory contains 66 entries, with opportunities including scholarships, grants, internships, apprenticeships etc.
Like all of the content we create, the Scholarships Directory is free to the public. The layout isn’t fancy (and the list isn’t complete), but to our knowledge it is the most comprehensive scholarships resource in Cayman.
If you know of an opportunity we don’t have listed, let us know and we’ll get it in. And if you or your company are interested in sponsoring the Scholarships Directory, contact us at email@example.com and we’ll be happy to discuss.
Around The Web
The Current is a central resource for education journalism by others, including regional and international news relevant to Cayman education. (Find our running collection of links here.)
- Cayman Life TV: Young Artists Swap Phones for Hammers to Build Resiliency
- Education Unite Cayman: Caymanian Teachers as the Marginalized
- Cayman News Service: The kids conundrum
- Cayman Compass ($): Scholarships cut as UCCI board of governors gets pay bump
- The Royal Gazette (Bermuda): New school rules for coronavirus cases announced
- The Guardian (UK): Plan to speed up Ofsted inspections of schools in England sparks fury
- Jamaica Observer: MOE should reconsider 6th-form mandate
The Week Ahead
- Cayman Scholars Award: Which universities are considered ‘Gold-Tiered’?
- Data monitoring on public school student laptops
- EdBeat: Episode 24