Response to Media
"I have made an undertaking to critically review the education system..."
Minister Hon. Tara Rivers
Published 8th July 2014, 2:17pm
By Education, Employment and Gender Affairs Minister Hon. Tara Rivers.
This is in response to a posting on the website of Cayman News Service Tuesday morning titled "Minister plans school sell-off".
The report is erroneous from the beginning with that incorrect headline.
Following is the statement I sent to CNS Friday afternoon in response to questions.
"As Minister of Education, I have made an undertaking to critically review the education system of the Cayman Islands, with areas of priority being tackling behaviour concerns, governance, vocational services and the introduction of an independent and objective inspections regime.
"In addition to and in tandem with the review, the intention is to revise and update the Education Modernisation Law (the "Law") over the coming year to facilitate the changes, and to deal with technical breaches and other requirements necessary to update the Law in light of the new Constitution of the Cayman Islands and other relevant legislation coming into effect since the passing of the original Law.
"The proposal is to establish a governance model that will revolutionise the delivery of public education services through public-private partnerships. A board(s) of governors or similar entity is anticipated to be established and will manage the operational aspects of each of the schools under their purview, with regulatory oversight provided by the Ministry of Education, and each school will be assessed regularly by the independent inspections unit to be established.
"Essentially, this will lead to a public-private model of education for the Cayman Islands. The aim is to raise the standard of education and to facilitate the Cayman Islands in becoming a centre of excellence for education. Please note that the proposal is still under discussion and development within the Ministry and has yet to be discussed in full detail with Caucus."
I have asked CNS to confirm its source(s) of highly inaccurate statements made in that erroneous report in which the only factual information was the quotes attributed to me from the above.
As I mentioned above, the proposal is still under discussion within the Ministry and Government, so to presume many of the things erroneously speculated in the article is not only premature but factually wrong.
In particular, I refute the claims in the article about not accommodating students with special education needs, learning difficulties and behaviour problems, as well as the claims about the ability for schools to pick or choose students. Also, the claims about the selection criteria for students being based on examination passes, etc., as opposed to catchment areas are equally unfounded. These statements in the article are simply untrue.
Articles such as the one published by CNS do the public a great amount of disservice by ignoring the facts and putting out speculative and factually wrong information. The Government and my Ministry are taking a critical look at the education system in the Cayman Islands with a goal of educational excellence and in the best interests of our children. We will continue to do so and once all plans are in place, we will make an announcement in due course.