***Editor’s Note: Due to the impact of COVID-19, the Office of Education Standards is conducting one-day ‘thematic visits’ to Cayman Islands schools in the Spring 2022 term in lieu of more in-depth inspections. (Click to expand.)
(Read our story on the decision here.) OES recently published the first batch of reports from these visits, which will eventually involve 31 government and private schools and culminate in a national report. The Current will publish a story on each individual school, as well as stories from a more comprehensive perspective.***
Delayed scores from CXC exams resulted in some students being “inappropriately allocated” to the Dual Enrolment programme at the University College of the Cayman Islands and Cayman Islands Further Education Centre, Office of Education Standards inspectors said.
UCCI had introduced campus-wide measures in response to COVID-19 that in turn also applied to Dual Enrolment students, according to a letter to Acting UCCI President and CEO J.D. Mosley-Matchett from Chief Inspector Nicholas Sherriff and Senior Inspector David Baldwin.
The inspectors’ visit to UCCI focussed on the Dual Enrolment programme.
UCCI’s “Covid-19 policy was in line with the Ministry of Education’s guidance and protocols,” the inspectors said.
“In general, Dual Enrolment (DE) students on the UCCI site consistently adhered to Covid policy regarding mask wearing, hand sanitizing and social distancing.”
The visit occurred on 9 March and the inspector’s summary is dated 11 March.
“We did not find any significant concerns” during the school visit, the inspectors said.
Unlike full inspection reports, the inspectors do not assign graded judgments to schools as a result of the one-day visits. Inspectors conduct interviews with school leadership, teachers and administration, as well as reviewing documentation.
“The delay in the CXC exam publication for the second year had created a need for the use of predicted grades to be used to select Yr11 students for DE/CIFEC/A level. In retrospect this was not always accurate resulting in students inappropriately allocated to
DE and CIFEC,” inspectors said. “However, having both sites identify this problem and then reinforced by the publication of the actual student CXC results, DES and the MOE took the decision not to move any students.”
The inspectors said UCCI had made significant investments in upgrading IT infrastructure to support remote learning.
Dual Enrolment students used their government-issued laptops.
The current maintenance plan for government laptop support did not work well for DE students. Some students had attempted to go back to their home schools for support but IT staff reported this was taking too long and stepped in to help students where they could,” the inspectors said.
UCCI made live lectures available in-person and remotely during the pandemic.
“UCCI had experienced issues with DE students returning from COVID related
absence as such a policy of face to face first was adopted,” the inspectors said.
The university had implemented an array of measures to protect against COVID, including hand sanitising, social distancing, air purifiers and regular cleaning of classroom spaces.
Inspectors said, “There was limited support for COVID related wellbeing although, DE students could access the ‘Telehealth’ system and initial consultations with the ‘OnCourse’ program.”
Requests for mental health support had increased significantly during the pandemic, staff said.