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Alan Hewitt (John Gray High School), Helena McVeigh (Schools’ Inspectorate), Pachent Smythe (Schools’ Inspectorate), Willean Hill (George Town Primary School)

Published 3rd May 2006, 2:37pm

The task-force responsible for the development of the Cayman Islands' new national curriculum met last week, marking a key milestone in the project's progress. The task-force, comprising teachers and officials from various sections of Cayman's education system and led by Chief Inspector of Schools, Mrs. Helena McVeigh, convened at a one-day workshop to prepare a document setting out the aims and principles for the design of the new curriculum, along with outcomes for students and the rationale for change. This workshop followed a period of detailed analysis and review by members of the group. The day was structured to allow small dedicated groups to focus on specific areas of the project and then table work for review to the task-force as a whole. Spirits were high, reflecting good progress made by the team and a general feeling among participants that the objectives were successfully achieved. Mrs. McVeigh said that, "She was thrilled with how far the group had got in the day. There was a very positive and productive atmosphere and much consensus amongst the group, who had done a great deal of research before the meeting. The commitment and professionalism of the teachers involved are outstanding. This bodes well for the whole process of curriculum review and the necessary change that must accompany it". Willean Hill of George Town Primary remarked that this was one of the most rewarding professional days she had experienced in the last 14 years in Cayman. The Minister of Education, Hon. Alden McLaughlin, JP, also expressed his delight at the outcomes of the session, remarking, "The new national curriculum will shape the competencies and capabilities of future generations of Caymanians. This latest development demonstrates that we are moving forward in earnest with the delivery of a curriculum solution, which is tailored specifically for the economic and social needs of the Cayman Islands." The national curriculum task-force was formed to lead the government's strategy on reviewing the national curriculum, which was defined following last September's Ministry of Education led conference on the future of Education in the Cayman Islands. This is strategy 2 of 10 strategies identified as necessary to bring about improvements to the education system, and is defined as being 'The Establishment of a taskforce to oversee and guide the review and revision of the Cayman Islands' National Curriculum'. Its aim is to work with stakeholders to determine how and what should be taught to students of compulsory school age in the Cayman Islands government schools. The national curriculum task-force, which comprises 15 representatives of pre-schools, primary, secondary and high schools, public and private, the education department, Schools' Inspectorate; and UCCI, is pleased with its progress since the appointment of its members in February. The group has met on several occasions and initiated extensive research on other countries' curricula, aims and objectives. Ideas for aims, values and principles of Cayman's own new curriculum have been tabled within the group, which has also attended presentations from education experts on the future of tertiary education and internationally recognized curriculum options. This most recent meeting enables the task force to progress to the next phase of the project, which will encompass a report of the day's conclusions for review and consultation. It is anticipated that the major work on writing the learning objectives for each year group and subject, as well as planning training and support for teachers, will commence shortly afterwards. The group's commitment to achieving its aims is further demonstrated by plans to recruit two dedicated specialists from primary and secondary teaching positions to help facilitate progress over the next two years. It is expected that these posts will be filled locally and that they will ensure the efficient and timely delivery of the new national curriculum.