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Published 21st November 2006, 1:10pm

The Ministry of Education, Training, Employment, Youth, Sports & Culture is holding a follow-up to its landmark National Education Conference of September 2005. Like its predecessor the event will bring together a wide-range of stakeholders in the future of education, including education professionals and representatives of local businesses and trade and developmental organizations. The conference will be held on Friday 1st December at Mary Miller Memorial Hall in Red Bay. This year's theme is 'Innovating for brighter futures - together', reflecting both the forward-looking nature of the programme and the Ministry's inclusive approach to education reform. In keeping with this theme the Ministry has assembled a heavy-weight ensemble of speakers, whose presentations will provide the main body of the day's activities. As well as being accomplished specialists in their respective fields, with a wealth of expertise in reshaping the way we teach and learn, each of the speakers is considered to be an innovator in their respective field. This year's speakers include: Professor Stephen Heppell, the world's leading expert on schools of the future; Mr. Prakash Nair, a globally acclaimed change agent for the enhancement of teaching and learning through improved school design; and Mr. Robert Gregory, Executive Director of the HEART Trust National Training Agency of Jamaica, who is renowned for his long-term commitment to empowering the workforce of Jamaica and the region. The programme also includes a short presentation by senior representatives of the architectural firms, which have been appointed to work on the design and build of the new high schools, Mr. Danny Owens of local firm OA&D, and overseas partner, Mr. Richard Dewar of Chicago-based OWP/P. Hon. Alden McLaughlin, JP, Minister of Education, Training, Employment, Youth, Sports & Culture, said, "The events since our landmark first education conference of September 2005 have brought about a climate of change and improvement for education in the Cayman Islands. This conference is designed to inspire our stakeholders to adopt a more innovative approach to their roles in the reform process, and provide some useful and compelling insight into the exciting new possibilities for enhancing the ways we teach and learn." Conference Chair and Ministry Strategic Development Advisor (Education), Mr. Gareth Long, said, "The 2005 National Education Conference was an overwhelming success because it brought together all our stakeholders on an unprecedented scale to talk and act as a collective whole. This conference represents a natural continuation in that vein and provides an ideal forum for sharing some of the most-cutting edge international thinking in education with local audiences." The September conference of 2005, which was entitled 'Defining challenges, finding solutions - together', provided a national consensus on the future of education which highlighted ten strategies to bring about the necessary changes for the effective transformation of Cayman's education system. These strategies covered a wide range of areas, including curriculum, governance, human resources, early years provision, business processes and facilities planning and management, and have provided a framework for much of the government's work on the reform process over the past year. Mr. Long remarked, "We are enormously grateful to all our stakeholders and partners, and everyone who has supported or played a role in the great many Ministry initiatives, which have driven the reform process over the last year."