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A student and his mom speak with Chief Education Officer Shirley Wahler.

Published 25th May 2010, 1:11pm

Scores of students and their parents attended the Year 12 Expo, recently hosted by the Ministry of Education and Department of Education Services (DES). The first event of its kind, the expo was organised in order to show students, who are preparing for the 2010/2011 mandatory Year 12 programme, their educational options. Excited about the turnout, Chief Education Officer Shirley Wahler commented, "This is really a milestone for the Cayman Islands education system. It’s the beginning of a big change. "Students who are now in Year 11, moving into Year 12, will have opportunities this September that are just unprecedented, and we’re really excited to see them taking the first step." Explaining that students must start submitting their applications for programme selections soon, she said that a survey would also be conducted to determine the areas of highest demand. However, successful admission to programmes will depend heavily on external exam results. "Once results are in, we’ll have consultations with students. Their parents will also have a chance for input before the final decision is made," Mrs. Wahler said. The Ministry of Education’s Chief Officer Mary Rodrigues noted, "It’s important that there is a guidance and counselling phase before entry to the programme. Students cannot just sign up for a programme and tell us ‘this is what I want to do.’" Mrs. Rodrigues said the DES will review each student’s choices and that a decision, based on what’s best for each student, will be made. She said this will ensure that participating students meet graduation requirements. The mandatory Year 12 programme is part of a major restructuring, which will see the implementation of two "all-through" high schools. These schools will replace the current middle-

Exhibitors did their best to answer queries.

and high-school arrangements, come September, 2010.  The programme will offer second chances for students who wish to improve their CXC/GCSE grades. It also will provide new learning opportunities - such as technical and vocational programmes - that complement current UCCI certificate courses. Depending on CXC/GCSE passes, students also will have the option to pursue either GCE ‘A’ levels at the private schools that offer this programme, or an associate’s degree at UCCI. The Year 12 Expo capped a series of events and initiatives designed to inform persons who will be affected by the education transition. These included several parent/student surveys; radio appearances; meetings with affected home school- and parent teacher associations; and meetings with years 5 and 6 primary school teachers, students and their parents. Several meetings and presentations, involving teachers, students and parents from George Hicks and John Gray high schools, were also conducted. For more information on the education transition, or mandatory Year 12 Programme, visit www.education.gov.ky and click on Education Transformation Blog at the bottom right of the home page.