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A new model for the governance of Education Services was revealed in September, in line with strategy 1 of the government’s 10 strategies for education reform. Improved delivery of services to users through more clearly defined lines of communication; added accountability at every level; and the introduction of ‘Learning Communities’ are just some of the features that make this a sustainable long-term solution for the future.

A new model for the governance of the education service in the Cayman Islands was revealed early in September by Hon. Alden McLaughlin, JP, Minister of Education, Training, Employment, Youth, Sports & Culture.

Despite the magnitude of the task, the new model comes just twelve months after its initial conception during the national education conference of 2005. Ten strategies for the reform of the education system were identified, of which a new governance model was strategy one. It is defined on page 20 of the ‘National Consensus on the Future of Education in the Cayman Islands’ document as being,

   

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  • Speech by the Hon. Alden McLaughlin, JP, Minister of Education, to the Legislative Assembly
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“The development of an administrative framework for a new education service, redefining, rationalizing and reassigning core functions for education amongst schools, the School’s Inspectorate, the Education Department, the Ministry, the University College and all other organizations and stakeholders that support the delivery of education.”

The guiding principal of the new model is that it must serve the student by placing them at the centre of the system. This improves upon the previous organizational structure in the way that services and their benefits, are delivered to users, schools and particularly students.

The new model streamlines systems and processes as well as giving increased accountability for performance at every level. It also adds clarity to roles, and facilitates more effective channels of communication and delivery between them. The compound effect of these enhancements is that students will receive the direct benefits of higher standards of service, delivered with increased reliability and efficiency.

Many improvements are evident in the new model, including clearer policies and processes, greater autonomy of service providers and better personnel management. Two notable areas of change are in the creation of a revitalized Department of Education Services (DoES), and the introduction of Learning Communities.

The latter is an innovation, which is designed to effect the embracement and involvement of education by the wider community. The Cayman Islands has been geographically segmented into four Learning Communities, three in Grand Cayman, and the other comprising Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.

This concept decentralizes management of education services, and creates small clusters of schools, which will support and challenge each other to enhance performance. Learning Communities localize the education process, encouraging more ownership of students’ performance within the community as a whole, and thus more involvement and support. Another clear benefit of localization is that education services will be more readily available at district level, and students will enjoy improved access to the tools they need to thrive.

Increased usage of school facilities after normal hours, managed by an After-Hours Coordinator, expands the range of education services available to the community as a whole, particularly adult learning and training, making more efficient use of the government’s significant investment in school facilities.

Each of the Learning Communities will have a Learning Community Leader who reports to the Director of Education Services. All members of the Learning Community have a role to play and increased accountability for the achievements of students will promote a higher standard of teaching and learning. The Learning Communities will provide to schools and students, dedicated services such as: Guidance and Counseling Services; student Support Services; Financial Support; ICT Support; Registration, Attendance & Truancy; Facilities Management and After Hours Programming.

Learning Communities will be supported by the Department of Education Services (DoES). The DoES adopts a matrix organizational structure, to facilitate more direct links beween multiple service users and providers. The Department will offer higher standards of delivery in more clearly defined service areas, each with increased accountability and autonomy to maintain high levels of performance. These service areas include: Teaching, Learning and Communication; Human Resources; Finance; Facilities Management; Data & Exams; ICT and Helpdesk; and the Early Childhood Unit. Administrative staff will support routine operations, and key roles and responsibilities will be realigned to enable each function to fulfill its remit effectively, a process which is well underway.

The new model is another major step forward for education in the Cayman Islands, and represents a well-researched, meticulously planned solution for the much-needed reform of the framework for governance of the education system. It has been carefully developed in consultation with stakeholders, using the full range of available experience, knowledge and skills, to provide a model for the successful long-term future of education. By placing the student at the centre, it will provide an operational climate which is conducive to success, across all three of the Cayman Islands.

The model is expected to be in effect as of July 1st, 2007, enabling staff to acclimatize to new working practices and procedures, and hit the ground running at the start of the new academic year in September.

Last Updated: 2006-09-21