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It is evident that the world really is watching our work...

Hon. Alden McLaughlin, JP

Published 28th December 2007, 12:7pm

As the transformation of Caymanís education system progresses, the vision, commitment and determination to effect holistic change are increasingly attracting international attention. Caymanís education blogs now lay claim to followers from over 70 different countries in every corner of the globe; so as the Minister for Education, the Hon. Alden McLaughlin, JP noted: "It is evident that the world really is watching our work. Attracted initially by the National Consensus that underpins the reform vision, many countries are now monitoring how we are integrating and implementing the various initiatives of this multi-faceted reform process, all of which ultimately focus on the provision of brighter futures for all children in the Cayman Islands." The well-publicised and intimate involvement of some of the most celebrated international names in education, such as Professor Heppell and Prakash Nair, has by all accounts added fuel to this fire. On the international circuit these visionaries increasingly cite the vision and strategies of Caymanís Education Ministry and the local team as exemplary in their addresses to audiences around the world hungry to learn more about what education should look like in the 21st Century. In early January, Minister McLaughlin will take to the international education stage himself to tell first hand Caymanís story. In perhaps the most high profile recital thus far, Caymanís Education Minister will outline his vision for a 21st Century education system in the Cayman Islands to an audience comprised of Education Ministers and high level policy influencers from more than 70 countries at ĎMoving Young Mindsí in London, the prestigious World Ministerial Seminar on Technology in Education. In no other event is innovation in education represented at such a high-level among a truly international gathering of leaders from countries on every continent. Moving Young Minds is organized by the UKís Department of Children, Schools and Families and Minister McLaughlin was invited to speak by the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families. Minister McLaughlinís presentation will form the centre-piece of Moving Young Minds 2008, taking his distinguished company on Caymanís own journey and conducting an hour long questions and answers session during which it is anticipated that global education leaders will be inspired by the example being set by three small islands in the Western Caribbean. Understandably proud of the Cayman Islandsí centrality to the event, Minister McLaughlin commented, "Our involvement in the 2008 Moving Young Minds seminar is truly telling of how far we have come and how much we have accomplished in such a short space of time. It is also testimony to our performance as measured by international standards. He added, "At the seminar we hope to interest other countries in our approach, and even encourage them to adopt parts of our model for their own." Ministry Chief Officer, Mrs. L. Angela Martins MBE, explained how important certain messages would be to the Ministerís presentation. She said, "It is important for our audience to grasp that we adopted a holistic approach to transformation, devising strategies to enhance every facet of the system and integrating them to maximum effect within the wider context." The Moving Young Minds World Ministerial seminar was hosted for the first time in January 2004, with the objective of providing a forum for education policy-makers to share and discuss their experiences with Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and e-learning, and establish collaborative links and exchanges with other participating countries. The objectives of last yearís Moving Young Minds seminar were specifically to encourage and promote shared learning of ICT in education policies; promote ICT work done in the UK to an international audience; and encourage access to leading practice and products through the conferenceís link to BETT, the UKís high-profile education technology show, as well as the ICT-in-education industry. This year, Minister McLaughlinís presentation will place ICT and innovation in the context of every aspect of the national programme for the reform of education. Starting with the struggling system he inherited and Caymanís national education conference of 2005, during which the contributions of its 600 or so participants formed the blueprint for change, Caymanís Education Minister will explain how his strategies have resulted in a new and relevant national curriculum, better administration, enhanced professional development, more effective applications of technology and vastly improved provisions in key areas such as early childhood, tertiary education, technical and vocational programming and special educational needs. Pulling it all together, he will explain how the 21st Century learning environments Cayman is building for 2009 will be absolutely critical to allowing transformations across the board to really take effect.