13 Feb. 2022
Weekly Current (archived version)
UCCI launches search for a new President and CEO. First batch of ‘thematic’ school visit reports are published. Cayman Life TV signs on as media partner for TVET/STEM project.
Welcome to this week’s newsletter on education in the Cayman Islands.
Week In Review
Let the games begin.
No, we’re not talking about the Super Bowl or the Winter Olympics, but the competitive recruitment process for the top leadership position at University College of the Cayman Islands.
UCCI has officially kicked off the public portion of its search for a new President and CEO, following the departure of Stacy McAfee at the conclusion of her 3-year contract.
The advertisement for the position was posted on UCCI’s website and published in Friday’s copy of the Cayman Compass newspaper.
If you’re interested, the advertised salary is $121,212 to $155,148 per year. But if you want to apply, you should have a Master’s degree (PhD preferred) and at least 10 years of experience in higher education, with at least 5 years in a senior executive or leadership position.
One thing to note is the ad states the new President is expected to continue UCCI’s current 5-year Strategic Plan, which was adopted at the start of McAfee’s tenure.
The ad doesn’t contain specifics on UCCI’s preferred start date or the length of the contract.
CML Recruitment is acting as UCCI’s ‘HR Consulting partners’ on the recruitment process.
The Office of Education Standards has published the first batch of reports from its one-day ‘thematic visits’ to public and private schools.
We tucked into 3 of the reports this week and will follow up on the remainder over the next several days.
Inspectors are observing common trends in the pressure schools face from COVID-19, including staff shortages, student absences and learning gaps. (Note that education authorities have not released any official statistics quantifying Cayman students’ learning loss since the pandemic began 2 years ago.)
East End Primary School was hit hard by absences, with student attendance dropping to a nadir of 30% during the Fall 2021 term. It had since risen back to 94%.
The inspector said that students are displaying learning loss across all 3 core subjects of Mathematics, English and Science.
Meanwhile, school leaders and staff are attempting to adapt to the challenges, and the inspector said educators have exhibited “an exemplary attitude towards the ongoing provision of education for all students”.
Learning loss was evident at Joanna Clarke Primary School in Savannah as well. The inspector said, “In line with early international reporting, attainment was lower than expected.”
Staffing shortages have put additional demands on the school’s educators. The inspector said, “Some teachers reported feeling exhausted and felt as though working longer term without additional staffing could prove to be unsustainable.”
Additionally, a “significant minority” of teachers said they felt vulnerable to COVID and that policymakers did not always take their safety into account when making rules.
The inspector praised the attitudes of leaders and staff, saying their actions have demonstrated “the very positive ethos of the school”.
At Grace Christian Academy, student attendance remained relatively high compared to the two public primary schools, but had dipped to 89% in the Fall 2021 term.
The inspector said Principal Bernice Scott had “a strong professional relationship with staff”, and that Scott said one of the main challenges was the shortage of qualified staff.
The pandemic had posed financial challenges to the school, and Scott said the government’s reinstatement of grants to private schools was “a welcome reprieve”.
Good news everyone!
Cayman Life TV has signed on as the Cayman Current‘s official media partner on our mini-documentary series on TVET and STEM education.
“We are delighted to be involved with this incredible project. Cayman Life TV is a community channel on Logic Channel 33 as well as on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and our website at CaymanLife.ky,” Cayman Life TV founder April Cummings said.
“One of our key areas of interest is education-related content because it is critical to the health and well-being of our community, now and in the future. This docuseries takes a deeper dive into an important aspect of education and it is a privilege to air it and share it across all of our platforms,” she said.
We’re incredibly grateful for the support from Cayman Life TV, and from our project sponsors which include Dart, Health City Cayman Islands, Enterprise Cayman and Silver Palm Studios.
Our readers, of course, are already well aware of the Current’s ongoing collaboration with Cayman Life TV, as Current editor Patrick Brendel and Cayman Life TV founder April Cummings co-host the weekly video programme EdBeat.
After a few missed … well, beats … the show returned last week with a discussion on the departure of UCCI President McAfee, an unenforced rule on saving space for schools in large subdivisions, and other topoics.
More from the Current
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.)
- The Royal Gazette (Bermuda): BUT passes motion of no confidence in education minister, PS and commissioner
- The Royal Gazette (Bermuda): Pressure group says meeting was ‘fruitless’
- The Guardian (UK): Labour seeks inquiry into huge jump in top grade A-levels at private schools
- Jamaica Observer: Schools slowly returning to normality
- Eye Witness News (Bahamas): FACE-TO-FACE RETURNS: Schools in south-central district resume full in-person learning
The Week Ahead
- More from UCCI
- School inspection reports
- EdBeat: Episode 29