Archive for August 22nd, 2014

Education reform ‘unique’

| 22/08/2014 | 26 Comments

(CNS): Eighty-five percent of students who graduated from the Brac high school this summer achieved five or more Level 2 passes, and all 85% reached the new goalpost, which is 5+ passes including maths and English. Sixty-four percent, almost two thirds, achieved seven or more Level 2 passes, Chief Education Officer Shirley Wahler told teaching staff on Cayman Brac. “Once again the Layman E. Scott High School has set the standard,” she said, describing the results, which are the best ever achieved in the Cayman Islands, as “phenomenal”. On top of that, the Year 11 class from the LSHS has already outstripped any Year 12 group prior to this year, she said, emphasizing that the reforms that have yielded such a spectacular turnaround in results are “uniquely Caymanian”.

Addressing teaching staff at the Annual Education Professionals' Welcome for staff on the Sister Islands on Friday morning in the high school hall, Wahler told them that everyone “should feel a glow of pride”, and described the results as “a community success”.

The Year 11 students, who will graduate from the LSHS in the summer of 2014 and are the second year group on the Brac to take their exams early and go onto the restructured Year 12 programme, have already achieved better results than any Year 12 group except for the LSHS Class of 2014. The CEO told teachers that 73% already have five or more Level 2 passes, 68% have 5+ Level 2 passes including maths and English, 50% have seven or more and 43% have nine or more Level 2 passes.

Passes at CXC and CSEC grades I – III or GCSE/IGCSE grades A* through C are Level 2 or Standard High School Level. Five Level 2 qualifications are recognised internationally as equivalent to a US high school diploma and mark successful completion of secondary education. (Read more about academic levels here)

While the reforms in education have taken place over the last decade, Wahler, who was principal of the Brac high school before becoming chief education officer, said the journey of reform on the Sister Island had really been over the course of the last decade and a half. Much of the “trailblazing work” had been done on Cayman Brac for others to emulate, she said.

“We find out what works for us, and then we do more of it,” she said, explaining that the progress made in the education system had come out of a “uniquely Caymanian solution”. She noted that many efforts toward improvements in the Cayman Islands involve using overseas expertise, and this had been especially true for education.

However, Wahler stressed, “Our solution came from inside the system.” The reforms are based on building literacy and numeracy skills and building student confidence, she said and aimed not just at passing exams but also improving the “soft skills” needed to function as an adult.

As gratifying as the high school results are, she said, the “most exciting” news was from the primary schools, where reading results for Year 6 students across the system were up 21%, writing results were up 13%, and maths results rose by 8%.

What this means is that students now entering high school are doing so with better skills that previous years, which points towards even better results for future graduating classes, the CEO noted.

Saying she was the “last person to be complacent” and that “the journey is by no means over”, the chief education officer paid tribute the teaching staff who had accomplished those results.

“It’s important to stop and celebrate successes,” she said.

Related story on CNS:

Schools’ results celebrated

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New Intern Selected at NGCI

| 22/08/2014 | 0 Comments

(NGCI): Deutsche Bank (Cayman) Limited and the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands welcome another year of introducing creative minds to the field of museum and gallery management. The competitive Deutsche Bank National Gallery Internship Programme is an intensive year-long training opportunity for one young Caymanian student to learn, develop their skills, and gain professional experience. Now in its twelfth year, the 2014-15 placement has been awarded to Lyle Anderton.After completing three years of visual and creative arts at Sheridan College in Canada, Mr Anderton has joined the National Gallery team for a year before returning to his final year of studies.

“I see the Deutsche Bank National Gallery Internship Programme as a great opportunity to gain valuable experience in a field that I love and aim to turn into my career. I am very passionate about art and serious about working in the visual arts field. I hope to learn more about gallery work outside of the art studio so that I have the skills needed to enter into the workforce when I graduate in 2016.”

As a full-time trainee Mr Anderton will have the unique opportunity to work with exhibition curators and education facilitators on a variety of projects related to the National Gallery’s exhibitions and programmes. The role covers many aspects of gallery and museum work including education, collections management, exhibition design, fundraising, public relations, membership, volunteer services and administration. The experience has helped past interns go on to pursue careers in fine art, graphic design, make-up artistry, non-profit administration, teaching, and illustration.

Thanks to Deutsche Bank’s annual support, the Intern also receives a full training-level salary and benefits. Janet Hislop, Chief Country Officer of Deutsche Bank (Cayman) Limited, explains why this programme remains as one of the top areas of interest to the bank: “Having celebrated its eleventh anniversary last year, the Internship programme is well established as a key initiative that supports local students who have a passion for the arts, who are keen to gain an insight into the operations of a major cultural institution and who want to enhance their professional skills. I am delighted that Deutsche Bank maintains such a positive relationship with the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands, based on our belief that artistic creativity and business success are so closely aligned. I am sure Lyle will find the Internship to be a hugely positive and rewarding experience.”

Kieshona Brown Graduates from the Deutsche Bank National Gallery Intern Programme

Ms Brown recently completed the year-long intensive training programme and now plans to do a foundation diploma in art and design at the University of the Arts London: London College of Communication in England next year before going on to study a bachelor of arts in graphic design. Ms Brown comments, “The National Gallery is an environment where Caymanian heritage is greatly imprinted. I have been exposed to another side of the art world, something I haven’t had the opportunity to experience in the past. I am confident that the opportunity has helped me build my knowledge and skills even more so that someday I will become a successful Graphic Designer.”

During her first few months working at the National Gallery Ms Brown focused on learning about the different areas of the Gallery, but quickly found a special affinity with the Education Department and its broad programme schedule. Ms Brown comments, “The National Gallery’s Education Department is amazing. They offer all of these great programmes that bring families closer together by engaging them in arts and crafts.”

Ms Brown now joins the list of former Deutsche Bank National Gallery Interns which includes Josephine Shibli, Jaime Doak, Letitia Davis-Eden, Ariana Eden, Anne-Marie Gray, Stephen Nickelson, Kerri-Anne Chisholm, Latrese Haylock, Joe Roberts, and Elena Fear.

Former intern Kerri-Anne Chishlom explains the importance of the internship, saying: “This internship is the most valuable experience you can have in understanding how the world of art operates. It is important to wear your enthusiasm for art on your sleeve, and let your passion show. If you are interested in the arts, I can recommend the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands and Deutsche Bank as establishments in which your passion will be stirred and propelled.”

For more information about the programme and how to apply, email education@nationalgallery.org.ky or call (345) 945 8111.

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Old and new faces come together to manage JA

| 22/08/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Junior Achievement board has re-elected Paul Byles as its President, along with several long standing members including Vice President Brendalee Scott-Novak of Rotary Central joined by other Rotarians, Treasurer Martin Ruben, Marilyn Brandt, Mike Donnelly, Dr Naude Dreyer, Ravee Kapoor, Marco Capelli, Desire Charles and Larry Tibbetts. As the NGO gears p for another year, Chamber of Commerce Members will include Wil Pineau, James Tibbetts and Secretary Angelyn Hernandez along with associate directors Dominique Chenier, Padraig Hoare, Kerri Kanuga, Pat Randall, Glenda McTaggart, Juliet Osbourne and Giorgio Subiotto. The new directors are Katie Dilbert, Kristina Buckerage and Paul Pearson.

“We are honoured to have new members such as Ms. Dilbert, Ms. Buckeridge and Mr. Pearson on the Board this year,” Byles said. “All of our board members continue to work hard ensuring Junior Achievement is a success as we all have the same interest in mind. Our board has the passion to guide Cayman’s youth to excel in everything they do.”
  
The Junior Achievement programme is now in its 24th year and continues to make tremendous strides in forging links between Cayman’s young people and the business community. JA participants are given the opportunity to establish and run their own company, while under the watchful eye of business people from within the community, helping to guide them in their mission.

“Our board members set an example for youth to work as a team, achieve an appreciation of education and keep a positive attitude throughout all aspects of life. We have had strong support from the community and hope this continues as we venture into a new year,” Byles added.

For more information on Junior Achievement and to find out how to volunteer, visit www.jacayman.ky or call 949-4306.

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Former banker confirmed as OT minister

| 22/08/2014 | 16 Comments

(CNS): The UK Tory MP for Rochford and Southend East who was appointed as the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office earlier this month in the wake of Mark Simmonds’ resignation will also be overseeing the overseas territories, the FCO has confirmed. Simmonds threw in the towel on his almost £120,000 pay-packet as he claimed he couldn't afford to live in central London and spend time with his family in his constituency on that money. Replacing him is former banker James Dudderidge, who lists his policy interests as pensions, financial services and Africa, having worked for Barclays in the Ivory Coast and Botswana.

Other interests include the environment, transport, local government and other UK government areas but there is no record of Duddridge ever taking any interest in the UK’s remaining colonies. However, his banking experience may come to the fore as the UK continues to apply pressure on Cayman to introduce the controversial open beneficial ownership registry for the local offshore industry, in line with the wishes of UK Prime Minister David Cameron.

Duddridge is the third minister to oversee the OTs since the conservative coalition was elected in May 2010, with Henry Bellingham holding the post for the first two years prior to Simmonds. Both those men visted Cayman during their time in office but with the UK General Election just nine months away it remains to be seen whether Duddridge will take advantage of his new post for a jolly to the Caribbean.

Although the new Tory minister has responsibility for most of the UK’s overseas possessions, his remit excludes the more controversial islands of the Falklands and Gibraltar as well as the Sovereign based Areas of Cyprus.

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Shetty docs save man’s life

| 22/08/2014 | 75 Comments

(CNS): A 49-year-old local man and his family now have plenty to lookforward after a life-saving operation at the Shetty hospital, which was also the first of its kind in the region. Despite having $1 million worth of insurance with CINICO, Albert Seymour, who was suffering from severe heart failure, was told by an American hospital that he didn’t have enough insurance to cover the costs of a transplant and effectively sent him home to die. However, with the opening of the new hospital in East End and the arrival of Dr Devi Shetty’s experienced heart surgery team, Seymour was given hope. Now just two weeks after his operation to insert an artificial heart pump he is heading home to begin his new life.

The complex and state-of-the-art surgery is a coup for the Health City Cayman Islands and has put the medical centre firmly on the cardiac specialist map with this successful specialist life-saving procedure. Seymour was fitted with a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) and the entire procedure equipment, aftercare and follow-up was estimated to be less than half a million dollars by the surgeons, supporting the claims made by the hospital’s founder, Devi Shetty, that he can cut the cost of healthcare even in the western world.

This life saving procedure is a significant alternative to a heart transplant for people suffering from serious heart disease when medicines fail. Speaking at a press conference about the operation Thursday, doctors explained the problems faced by patients who have serious heart disease.

"The challenge with heart transplants is the availability of a donor heart," said chief cardiac surgeon Dr Binoy Chattuparambil, who performed the lifesaving surgery on Seymour. The senior cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon, who has performed more than 5,000 surgeries in his career, said the waiting period is so long that most patients die before getting assistance.

"In this situation you can provide LVAD as a final choice of treatment or as a temporary measure until you get adonor heart," he explained, adding that of the numerous heart surgeries done each year in the United States, only a small percentage of LVADs are performed.

However, the operation has a high success rate and a great tool for places such as Cayman where transplants are not yet legal, and if they were, finding a compatible heart in such a small jurisdiction would prove even more challenging. In addition, almost 80 percent of LVAD patients get discharged within three to four weeks after the procedure.

"After one more month they should be able to go shopping, and two to three months after surgery, all things being equal, they should be independent," Dr Chattuparambil said.

After barely being able to breathe and forced to sleep sitting up just two short weeks ago, following the operation Seymour is now walking around unaided and climbing stairs. He now carries a battery pack when not at home to keep his artificial pump in full working order, and the doctors said that the device in Seymour’s heart will last for many years.

Dr Chattuparambil was not the only one responsible for saving Seymour’s life, as a complex procedure such as this also requires an experienced cardiothoracic surgical team, with cardiology support, high-end critical care and anaesthesiology support the doctors explained.

The team included Dr Chandy Abraham, Dr Ravi Kishore and Dr Dhruva Krishnan. Additionally, nurses and physiotherapy services are important to provide around the clock care, leading to enhanced recovery and outcomes. All this works in concert with laboratory and imaging services and supporting clinical services such as pulmonology, nephrology and psychological care.

Although the LVAD procedure has been performed at Health City's affiliate hospital in Bangalore, India, many times, it is a first for the Cayman Islands and the region. The team at the hospital said it marked thebeginning of a new specialty that aims to bring the latest advances in the management of advanced heart failure to the entire Caribbean at affordable costs.

Dr Ravi Kishore said that the processes regarding the creation of a specialist heart clinic at the HCCI was well underway and would be kicking off within one month as the team actively seek out referrals to offer state-of-the-art and technologically sophisticated treatments for heart patients. Working with regional health authorities in the Caribbean as well as the local Health Services Authority, the doctor also said that the hospital would be creating the first Caribbean register for heart disease.

Check back to CNS next week for more news from HCCI.

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