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Front row: Clifton Hunter High School Student Henry Hill, Chief Officer of Education Mary Rodrigues, Minister of Education Hon. Rolston Anglin, JP, Manager, Initial Teacher Training & Strategic Goal 5 Leader Cetonya Cacho and Chief Education Officer Shirley Wahler Back Row: Members of the Strategic Advisory Group for the Plan: Rayal Bodden, Lyneth Monteith, Roy Bodden and Cindy Scotland

Published 30th October 2012, 3:20pm

Ministry Invites Public to Get Involved in Education

The Ministry of Education wants the public to get involved and have a say in the future development of the Cayman Islands Education System.

That was the message to the public at the October 29th, 2012 press conference, where the Ministry launched its Draft Strategic Plan for Education, for wider public consultation.  This plan will be the road map for further improving the Cayman Islands education system over the next five years.

Chief Officer Mrs. Mary Rodrigues explained that this was the third phase of consultation for the Draft Plan.

“This Draft Strategic Plan reflects feedback from a range of focus groups over the last two months.  There were 13 groups in all, with some 218 participants and some 44 survey participants. As this plan is a transition from the January 2011 Education Stabilisation Plan, it also draws on the feedback from hundreds more of our educators and parents who helped to shape that earlier plan,” she said.

Mrs. Rodrigues explained that the recent round of focus groups included a Strategic Oversight group, 5 Focus groups that worked on individual strategic goals, a teacher forum, a parent forum with PTA presidents, feedback from our Principals’ Consultative Council, and a student forum.

She said, "One of the most important and exciting part of our consultation, was our discussions with students. Too often strategic plans for education are developed just by adults deciding what is in the best interests of our students. We spoke with students from primary schools, CIFEC, the Passport2Success Programme, and the Youth Assembly.  They were engaged, insightful and ready to share their views on what matters to them, and how we can make things better."

All feedback is being recorded and changes to the plan are being tracked. This information will be published alongside the final plan.

The plan originally started out with five strategic goals. This grew to six after consistent feedback from focus groups that parent involvement needed its own separate goal statement. The six strategic goals are:

  • Strengthen leadership and build national capacity;
  • Build a world-class early childhood care and education system;
  • Secure high standards and improve student progress and achievement;
  • Build safer school communities and promote inclusion;
  • Enhance skills for learning, life and work and
  • Engage parents as partners in their children’s learning

The strategic goals are underpinned by strategic objectives and actions, which show how what work will be done to achieve the strategic goals.  A detailed implementation structure has also been developed, to ensure the plan translates into results.  Now it is time for the wider public to have their say to make sure nothing important has been missed and to make sure the key elements to improve the system have been captured.

Speaking at the press conference, Minister for Education Hon. Rolston Anglin, JP, said he wanted to give everyone a voice in the education system.  He said, “I want everyone to have their say in our education reform and to ensure that the Strategic Plan fits our needs as a country. During the consultation, I encourage everyone to fill out the survey which can be found on the Ministry’s website or email us so that we can hear what you think our education system needs to make it better.  If you think your point is minor, we still want to know about it as it may be something crucial that we have overlooked and need to include in the plan.”

He continued by saying, “This plan is a response to the needs of our teachers, students, system, economy and country as a whole. Change is constant and we need to ensure that we don’t change for changes sake. We must change with meaning and purpose and this is the goal of the Strategic Plan.”

One of the students that took part in the focus groups was Clifton Hunter High School Student Henry Hill.  At the press conference Henry said, “I’m very excited about being involved in this process, as it shows that the Ministry and Department of Education cares about what us students think.  Students see things differently from adults and we know what is going on inside and outside the classroom so it is important that our feedback is included.”

The public consultation will run for two weeks, ending on Friday November 9th. Persons who wish to find out more about the changes that will take place and to give their feedback should visit www.education.gov.ky or email educationreform@gov.ky. Here you will find the draft strategic plan along with other supporting documents and the survey which the Ministry wants as many as possible to complete.