Former ed minister warns of rollback on new law

| 18/08/2009

(CNS): A political desire to overturn the transformations he made in the education system over the last four years is what Alden McLaughlin, the former education minister, says is behind the current government’s decision to postpone the 1 September implementation date for the Education Modernisation Law, 2009. The law was passed in the Legislative Assembly in March, just before the change of government, but McLaughlin said despite the UDP government claims about the delay, there are no technical reasons to justify the postponement.

“This is a really ominous move by the current administration,” McLaughlin told CNS. “The 1 September start date was carefully considered before it was cited as the day the law would come into force. The start date was discussed at length with ministry staff and legislative drafters to make sure that it would offer enough time to put everything that was needed in place and they agreed that 1 September would be sufficient time and appropriate to fit with the school year. There are no justifiable working or technical reasons for this delay; it is about rolling back the transformations that have taken place in the education system.”

The government announced that it planned to delay the law’s implementation a few weeks ago and an order revoking the commencement date was gazetted on Monday, 17 August. Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush said the start date did not allow sufficienttime for government to complete necessary consultation and preliminary action required for the law’s proper implementation.

McLaughlin said, however, this was not the real reason and he suspected that the government planned to reverse the fundamental transformations that he had spent the last four years working on. He said the policy improvements in the law were about making real changes for better future outcomes for Caymanian students.

“The legislation was the very last part of the process of significant change to be introduced, which would have set the stage to improve results for our children in the future,” McLaughlin added. He explained that it was deliberately left until the end so that the law would reflect and underpin the policy changes that had been made because they were needed rather than trying to make policy fit a law that was imposed on the department. “The new law was designed to fit the changes,” he said.

The law contains a number of major amendments to the structure of the education department, the introduction of a national curriculum, and professional development for teachers; it raises the school leaving age to 17 and it also formally bans corporal punishment in schools and requires all schools to create their own written student behaviour and discipline policies, among other things.

McLaughlin warned that the deferment was ominous because the new policies had no legal basis without the legislation coming in to force.  He said it was clear that this was a move to try and stop the impact of the policy changes and that it was nonsense that the law couldn’t come into effect on the 1 September.

“By going ahead with this postponement it is clearly a policy decision to attempt to sweep all of the changes aside,” he said. “All the indications I have had is that this government intends to roll back the transformation exercise.”

McLaughlin lamented the fact that he had failed to get across to the people of Cayman that the changes in education were all interlinked and hung together. He said they were about improving teaching and learning and in turn the outcomes for local students.

“As I have said before we have not been honest about the way we report results historically and in reality only around 22-23% are passing the exams,” he said. “And the other 75% that has been failed by the system has always been my principle focus.”

McLaughlin explained that he wanted state-of-the-art facilities to engage those students to get them excited about learning. He noted that the 25% of students that do pass exams are likely to do okay despite the facilities, learning environment or circumstances they are in, but the other 75% are the ones that the education system has failed to engage and the ones that need more to draw them into learning. “Why I became involved in politics is because I have a passion for this issue and I wanted to change things for the 75% that we have consistently failed.”

The former minister said he did not believe that the current administration truly valued education. Cayman, he said, has had "third world facilities and a third world standard of education, and if we thought that was good enough for our children, then shame on us.”

Despite the criticisms he received for wanting the best state-of-the-art education facilities for young people, he still believed that the country deserves world class schools. “At the end of the day if I am asked if I was trying to build the best possible schools then my answer is, absolutely,” McLaughlin added.  

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  1. Anonymous says:



    These are links(takes a few seconds to load) to the 2006 report on economic conditions of teachers and I find it quite interesting. I wonder how many of the recommendations were actually implemented or is this another fine piece of work sitting on the shelves collecting dust. Reading this report I am surprised that there are still some teachers who are excited about and love their jobs. One of the main resources – our teachers have really been getting the short end of the stick, which is precisely why I get so frustrated by the ex-Ministers’ comments. When I hear people talking about first world and third world and spending millions of dollars on buildings instead of real value added assets like our teachers I get really upset.

    I will give the current Minister the benefit of the doubt that whatever he is reviewing it will NOT take another 4 years to do and that this has nothing to do with political posturing because our children simply cannot afford it. Let’s keep the pressure up on this issue.

    I would love to hear from our teachers. What is the general consensus about schooling on these islands??

  2. Teecha says:

    Here we go again, playing the little game we play every four years when a new Sheriff comes to town. The problem here essentially lies with interfering lawmakers overstepping their bounds and making things impossible for those hired as policy makers and the implementers of those policies.

    While I may not agree with everything in the new Education Law, I really don’t see the point in playing the game of spending two years rewriting it to suit the current Ministers whims and fancies, implementing it a year later, giving it a one year test run, then bam, new Minister, new CO, lets start all over again. Simply because if  ‘he did it’, then it must be wrong.

    Pull your heads out of your preverbials and give the school administrators and teachers a break. Stop playing the silly little games which have greatly aided in getting us to this point in the first place. 

    Hire the people who know and have faith and trust in what they put forward as ideas and policy. Take a step back from your political interference in matters you know little about. Let people do the jobs they are hired to do.

    Government teachers are scheduled to go back to work next week, do any of them really know which policies they are supposed to be following? Someone stock up the coffee in the staff rooms, it’s going to be another long year for those poor teachers


  3. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians at the end of the day WE have to put the education of our children first. The relaxed and small island way at looking at education has to be changed. We can improve this by one generation at a time.

     There are many mindsets that contribute to our problems. Some of us feel that children should be children and that other nationalities push their children too much, instead of focusing on fun in the early years. Others feel that it’s the school’s responsibility to educate our children, so after school is finish the learning should stop. Some people believe schooling finishes at High School and University is only for “certain” types of people. Some of us also limit our children by what we ourselves achieved – hey I only went to High School and look at where I am now. Worse there are quite a few of us who take a hands-off approach because of a lack of confidence or plain laziness – I can’t read so I don’t want to get into all of that school stuff or you are too “busy” to make time for your child. Then we have the destructive type through bitterness, anger and resent against expatriates we breed a sense of entitlement and lack of respect for all things foreign and the child becomes so bog down in their hatred that they are simply unable to learn and progress.
    So let us change these harmful mindsets and make small changes to improve the FUTURE of OUR children:
    Let’s encourage reading from a very early age; join a library and borrow books with your children.
    Cut back a few hours of TV per day and have your child read to you or vice versa.
    Ask and LISTEN to your children about their day at school
    Arrange meetings with all of your child’s teachers and find ways in which you can help
    Speak to a trusted co-worker/pastor/relative if you need help researching Universities and scholarships for your child
    Give rewards for academic excellence
    Make time to help with homework
    It is all about getting involved and taking an active interest in the development of our children. Children need guidance every step of the way and times have significantly changed from when you and I went to school. The opportunities are still there but now we have COMPETITION for these positions and we have to arm ourselves with the correct tools by ensuring the highest level of education for our children. The sky’s the limit. For those of us in the work-force and we notice these young Caymanians coming into work late, dressing inappropriately, talking on their cell-phones incessantly, instead of talking about them just pull them aside or take them to lunch and talk to them, simply help by providing GUIDANCE.. Some of them are just plain clueless and the parent(s) at home simply cannot help because they don’t know better themselves. We can learn from some of our expatriate colleagues on how to look out for each other and stick together!!!
    Once we fix our attitudes and mindsets we can put the proper pressure on our Government to ensure that the proper facilities, programs etc  are in place.
  4. Anonymous says:

    LOL Anon did YOU read the article??!!!!! haa haaaa

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the correction Expat 883. I should not have made that error as I know better, but good catch nevertheless.

    However, I was simply addressing your air of superiority and bias towards the standards of UK teachers versus non-UK teachers. If your major point was simply about employing the best teachers, regardless of nationality, I would not have commented. I felt that it was important to identify that the best teachers are not only from the UK. In addition, non-UK teachers also possess an "ability to communicate with exacting precision".

    • Expat 883 says:

      I did not mean to project an air of superiority, or for that matter to specifically express a bias toward UK teachers.  My comment was in reply to a posted suggestion that teachers from Jamaica in the local schools were not succeeding in teaching English skills to students.  Presumably this is (alleged to be) because of the Jamaican mode of speech; I am not in a position to comment on that.  I would simply affirm that a teacher, irrespective of where they are from, needs to be able to "communicate with exacting precision" as to effectively teach this skill to the kids.

      That said, I have encountered no one wound tighter that the (well-educated) British regarding the use of language.  Dare not stray past a UKteacher with a dangling participle, and may the good Lord have mercy upon you if you split your infinitive in front of them.  I am not British, but I’ll give credit where it is due.  No doubt, however, other nationalities can do this as well.

      • Makam says:

        Ah the way things were. Unfortunately from all the information I have gleaned it is now common for the English language not only to be mangled by someUK teachers but for it to be totally destroyed.

        You would be shocked at the exam papers which are passed at the various levels now.

        The drive for "political correctness" has lowered standards of education for everyone rather than rising for the majority.

  6. Concerned Parent says:

    Parents Please make your child’s Education a priority.

    Once again I am stunned and trying to comprehend why the Chief Education Officer, Teachers and Parents in the Government system have gone to bed after they  attended Educational Conferences for four years preparing for the new schools and a new curriculum. The majority of the parents were educated at Parent Teachers Meetings and school meetings and how have minds changed so quickly to just sit back and have  their childrens Education be put on hold.

    Once again I wait to hear from the Chief Education Officer what is the new revised education system that she hopes to convince and educate parents. Once again I wait to hear from teachers what they want after participating in Meetings, Education Conferences etc. Our Teachers who are highly educated and work daily with our children must have a say in this urgent matter and not just sit back and be told what they must do.

    Once again I wait to hear the parents come forward and speak up for their children.

    Once again, education, which ought to be the greatest priority for the government and the country, is being forced to take a backseat again.

    The aim of the new law was to promote high standards in education and the teaching profession. Its features included a mandatory national curriculum for all government schools, adding a compulsory school year and raising the school leaving age to 17.

    Surely, the way forward in our educational system has been consulted and acted upon to death and for the entire project to be shelved at the eleventh hour does the country, its school age children of today and tomorrow; their parents and guardians; and future employers – no good whatsoever.

    For too long, education has taken a backseat – to the detriment of our young people and to the economic well-being of society in general.

    Parents we had an opportunity to deal with the education system once and for all, and to make it what it should have been all along – the best one in the region. What are you waiting on to voice your concerns and put education first in our country.

    Surely, we have no choice in relation to education – we must do whatever it takes to bring our education system up to par with the modern world, so that our school leavers are qualified to enter our highly skilled labour market, and the familiar complaints from employees about the general levels of literacy and numeracy will thereby become a thing of the past.

    Yes, it is going to take money and some people may say the country cannot afford it. However, we would respond that we cannot afford not to spend the money and if the funds are not currently available, then they must be found somehow. Borrowing can be done for every thing else why not EDUCATION.

    I wait to see Parents, Teachers,Chief Education Officer at a Town Meeting ready to discuss the future for our children before school starts. John Gray High School ,a school with no Principal and issues  galore should be the first on the agenda. Remember never fuel a fire.

    • Concerned Parent says:
       Everything in this article is absolutely correct!
      • Albert Einstein says:

        If you are going to post a comment agreeing with your own comment, at least change your user name so we can’t see that you are talking to yourself. 

        Freakin rocket scientists…

  7. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Minister Mclaughlin for continuing to fight for our children.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Please no more PPM vs UDP BS !

    The fact that there are so many blind and stupid followers of the UDP government which is trying to reverse the positive transformation of the education system over the past 4 yrs and which has boasted that there will be no Environmental Impact Assessment on the proposed new port facilities, is perhaps the clearest evidence we have to date of an education system that has consistently failed our beloved country for 40 years !!!

    Wake up people. We were moving away from our third world country education system to a new modern and effective education system and now the UDP wants to take us backwards again.

    Perhaps if the current "Leader" had completed school he wouldn’t be so envious of others in this country having better opportunities than he had.

    God help us !!!

    • Mindy says:

      So, you write no more PPM vs UDP BS and what do you do next? Insult UDP followers!

      Please follow your own advice first.

  9. Tired of his overhauling says:

    You UDP supporters, the Blah Blah Blah ones especially, only see the political picture, you should try to get an education and stop listening to your uneducated leader.  The proposed Education Modernisation Law 2009 is a great piece of well researched Law, that should be implemented as is and on time, come September 1,2009.  It is not for the Political parties benefit, but it is for the future of our children and can only benefit the Cayman Islands in the long run.  The modernization of Education was well researched by our Cayman educational experts and is long overdue for our country.  Too long our system has failed our children and it is high time someone step up to the plate and hit a homerun, regardless of cost, for our Cayman children.  McKeeva ought to see that our current tourism product is not working, therefore the system requires young educated Caymanians, with new innovative ideas to revamp that product too.  Hence the reason we are going to need to enact this new Education Law.  Yes, money was spent on those new building,but with those building the new Law, along with the national curriculum and trained teachers will put us well on our way to increase that 22-23% exam passing results, to the full capacity.  The additional one year to the current system is well needed, as the Law would have enacted the new Technology School at the current George Hicks Campus and enable those other career minded students to transition into the University level.  It is high time for our Cayman children to reap the benefits of this rich society, by providing them with the motivational aspect of acquiring a much needed education.  McKeeva it is time for you to focus on the Cayman Islands children and their educational needs. Stop destroying the works of others. Stop putting the Almighty dollar first ahead of Cayman children and stop lining the rich man’s pocket just to please them.  Alden you and the selected committee that spent those many long hours and resources, please be comforted to know that your efforts will not be wasted, there are still born Caymanians that applaud your efforts and wants to see this Law implimented.  Keep up the good works and don’t stop fighting for your Cayman people.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Expat 883 they’re well trained teachers from the Caribbean, US and the rest of the world also teaching at the private schools.

    • Expat 883 says:

      Like I said, I didn’t want it to come across the wrong way.  The best teachers are all that I am on about.  We happen to have British ones who are great.  I am sure there are lots of nations turning out great teachers, and we really need great teachers here!

      Being able to teach a child to communicate effectively is critical in this market, and a teacher’s linguistic skills are therefore also critical.  This deployment of language (and also the underlying ideas, complete or not) is absorbed by the student.  I offer no comment on any nationality of teacher, but stand firm that clarity of expression and proper use of English is obviously extremely important in a teacher, for subsequent impression upon the student.  An inability to communicate with exacting precision will seriously undermine a student’s later advancement to the top of Cayman’s international financial services industry, where they apparently want to be.

      PS – It’s "there are" not "they’re".  You might think that I’m being a pinhead for pointing that out, but the truth is that our international finance clients will take that misuse of language as a sign that your education somehow misfired a little bit, at least on that point, and they will wonder if anything else is missing.  Not good for Cayman business.  Are the clients being to uptight?  Maybe, but that’s who they are.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Blah Blah Blah, More stupid

  12. Anonymous says:

    Alden and the PPM have lost Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 08/18/2009 – 05:54.

    It’s a crying shame that so many of our own Caymanian people are so lacking in education that they cannot even recognize efforts to provide our children with top class education much less comprehend the importance of it.  Our children will continue to miss out due to a UDP government led by morons who place no value on having an educated populattion….no need to wonder why!

  13. Angry Caymanian says:

     How many of you do actually attend PTA meetings and take an active role in your kid’s school? And with all the teachers from Jamaica what kind of english are our kids learning?

    Ha ha ha ha, I cant stop laughing lol.   But on a more serious note that is so true what your saying…this whole place and the System itself is gone.  

  14. Anonymous says:

    Mother of 2 we have always had Jamaican teachers and my best teachers were actually Jamaicans and my English is just fine. My teachers, including and especially the Jamaicans, were absolute professionals who loved their jobs and who cared about their students(Caymanian or otherwise).  It is comments and attitudes like yours why our children have no respect for our teachers and the learning process becomes hindered. How can your child respect a teacher when you clearly have none??!!!

    If you feel these Jamaican teachers are hindering your child’s progress well then complain at these PTA meetings that you are apparently present at so that solutions can be identified to address the problem.

    Such a malicious thing to say which highlights one of the major reasons for the breakdown in the progress of our children – a clear lack of respect for teachers by parents that is passed swiftly down to their children. These children then act as if they are beyond reproach and the balance of power shifts.

    I for one am thankful for my Jamaican teachers who have helped shaped me into the person that I am today. My child will learn to respect their teachers regardless if they are from Pakistan, Hungaria or Jamaica! Where there is a will there is a way.

    • Anonymous says:

      "Mother of 2 we have always had Jamaican teachers and my best teachers were actually Jamaicans and my English is just fine. My teachers, including and especially the Jamaicans, were absolute professionals who loved their jobs and who cared about their students(Caymanian or otherwise)".

      I could not agree more. I was blessed with first class Jamaican teachers.

    • Anonymous1 says:

      Mother of 2 has a point.  I don’t understand a word those Jamaican teachers say.  My teachers were from UK and America.

      Not saying they are bad teachers.  But their English leaves something to be desired and I don’t care who gets upset about me saying that.  "Plain talking make no falling out."  It’s the truth.

  15. Mother of 2 says:

    To all of you getting so "wexed" about the education in public schools I have a couple of questions:

    How many of you do actually attend PTA meetings and take an active role in your kid’s school? And with all the teachers from Jamaica what kind of english are our kids learning?

    I feel like my child’s english is getting worse at school!


    • Expat 883 says:

      I hope this won’t come across the wrong way, but as an expat my kids are required to go to the private schools where well-trained teachers from the UK are providing an exceptional early education.  This is the same as they would get back home (where I would shop for the best school, just as I did here).  I know that my kids need to go off-island for higher education, but that is what it is.  If Cayman wants their kids to take the place of the expats in due time, Cayman better be provideing the same level of education or better! Surely the most important thing an education department can do for Cayman’s future is to bring in the absolute best teachers that money can find.  Buildings don’t teach children – parents and teachers teach children.  Both have to be the best they can be.

      And yes, it is critical to read to your children and have your children read to you, starting just as soon as they start to be able to appreciate the 3 Little Pigs.   They are little knowledge sponges when they are young.  Pour it into them and don’t stop!

  16. A Concerned Caymanian says:

    God help our children…  This is a serious situation and all Caymanians need to stand up to having a better educational system for our children or our future is doomed.

  17. Anonymous says:

    You people are really disgusting..for the past four years all PPM did for this Country was good we got roads schools etc from PPM and you ppl hate them…why?? We may have a deficit but that comes along with spending on the island..Mr. Alden did more for this country’s education system than Mac has ever done in his 25 yrs of being in office… We got new schools and a New education law passed…
    Why don’t you people talk about Mac giving away 3000 status and waiving duties for RITZ and DART millions and millions that we could have… UDP do not have Caymanians @ heart…a government that does don’t sell out the country..

    Caymanians are really un grateful..if PPM did nothing to the country for the past four years we would have money…please remember bcos of PPM we have better schools for our children and new roads to drive on …

  18. Anonymous says:

    The arrogance of the ex-Minister really really gets under my skin.

    WASTING money that we do not have to build monuments that we do NOT need is not doing what’s best for Education in these islands.  I googled the attached state of the art new school in Florida and found that it was done for US$500K for 500 students with a potential to house 1000 students. We are now approaching CI$44 MILLION and counting!!! Read the attached for yourself and take a look at the pictures by googling the school name

    Where are the exam results for the 2007 and 2008 school years. The ex-Minister has shown that Education was not truly a priority for him as was his EGO!!!! REALLY REALLY frustrating. Education is the corner stone of all our current problems social ills, employment ills etc its all interrelated and I hope the new Minister will not waste the next four years building monuments instead of focusing on the core issues. Education HAS to be a priority but perceived and real!!!

    Does the Minister truly believe that spending money that we do not have will entice the remaining 75% to excel? Give me a break!!!! I am so upset over the treatment of the George Town Primary School(GTPS) and how they were kicked to the curb. Where are the improvements to that shcool now anyway , did the deal for private financing fall through what’s the status? Yet year after year GTPS produces most of our highest results despite their appalling conditions! The Minister spent $1.3M+ on the new boxing gym- has anyone taken a look at it. It is a box! Then what about the Truman Bodden Sports complex that’s another $1M+ for a track that the Public cannot use because we are going to attract a high level of sporting figures/events…………… where are they?

    • Anonymous says:

      Terra High scool is 178,000 square feet, that would be under three dollars per square foot. Someone at Seven News failed their maths and got it wrong by a few orders of magnitude.

    • Anon says:

      Did you even read the article? The article is not about the buildings….it’s about changes to the law i.e. the school system and workings thereof.  The article says there were too many changes to get ready in time….they are not talking about the buildings i.e. that means Alden did more than just build "monuments" as you call them.  If you even said you didn’t agree with the changes to the system that would be one thing but you won’t even acknowledge that this is more than just about buildings!  This is how we can tell you are a blinded UDP supporter.

      Your comparison of the schools in Florida and here is way too simplistic.  Are you comparing apples with apples? 

      I’m not saying every million of the school was necessary—unlike you I’m willing to admit where Alden is right and where he is wrong—however how much would the "cadillac" features in the school really save us?? If we cut those out would the school then cost $500k? No, it would still cost tens of millions!  To keep this in perspective, this is still cheaper than Boatswains Beach! And that’s not an income generator either!

      If you think GTPS was a long time coming under Alden at least it was coming along slowly but surely.  Wait to see what happens under this Government.    When last have you heard the current Government talk about that?

      No wonder our children are failing when we have adults like this as examples that can’t even understand issues and apply logic.  If you can understand and apply logic, perhaps you are just downright ungrateful?!


  19. Anonymous says:

    I find it disgusting that this former minister has the gall to now talk about this subject when all he did was leave this country in a terrible mess with his grandiose attempts at creating monuments for himself in the form of these unnecessarily expensive schools.  While I agree that we need good schools and to modernize education, it takes money.  I don’t know about you, but if I don’t have money in my checking account I can’t pay for an expensive house, I can’t buy school supplies for my kids, etc.  Same goes for government Alden.  Everything takes money but then since the PPM never even bothered to update the public accounts, then I guess they thought the country had vast amounts.  That reminds me, Ozzie who only bothered to have one meeting of the Public Accounts Committee in 4 years hould be ashamed of himself too. 

    I just wish the PPM would disappear as they are not even an effective opposition to our current government.  I lost total respect for them during their tenure as they always walked around with such arrogance and airs of superiority.  That attitude is what made me change my vote this last elecion.  What ever happened to Kurt Tibbetts?  Don’t even hear a peep out of him now.  While I think he has nothing of substance to say anyway, he is still making big bucks off of us asa result of the idiots that voted him back in.  Real smart PPMers!  I used to be one of you before I woke up.

    As for Charles Clifford, please stay off the talk shows about the berthing facilities.  I was at one of your public meetings about that and it all sounded so fishy even to me who is a non-political, non-seafaring, and just plain person.  I wonder what ulterior motives you had for wanting so much to get that job for the proposed developer that wanted the port to be built by his property.  Please disappear Chuckie.  I hope you enjoyed your ONE TERM. 

  20. Anonymous says:

    PPM was not afraid for the children of Cayman to get the best education.  Don’t you all see that UDP is afraid for the children to be educated and see all the wrong they are doing.  The older people always say "a bird of a feather flock together". 

    • Anonymous says:

      This is such an ignorant statement. Wow, I guess Im just as bad for replying 🙂

  21. AJ says:

    For such a rich country we have the worst educational system.  Some children from Honduras speak both English and Spanish and our children seem like they can barely speak English.  Sad.  The education system should have been addressed from years ago but the government seems to use the future of our islands like a political football.  School starts back in about another two weeks.  How much incentive is there going to be for students to learn if the teachers don’t know which system they’re supposed to be on?  And then (possibly) for the system to be changed half way through the semester/term?  These poor children.

    Angry Caymanian, I hope you’re serious about setting up that meeting.  There is no way I’m going to stand by and let the governments mess up my child’s future.

  22. Anonymous says:

    If I remember correctly, the current mininster of education supported the education bill when it was passed in March…so what has changed since then?? Why support it then and reject it now??. It is really sad that our children’s education is going down the drain mainly because of an iliterate leader of government business, rolston please take control of your ministy and do what is best for our childern and most importantly please tell us what system is our children going into in September. I know alot of school did alot of work to commence the new system in September so what now???

  23. Anonymous says:

    Not all Caymanians get to fully engage in the Cayman economy, and the main barrier that keeps showing up is the quality of education that the Cayman youth are getting in order to prepare them to compete head-on with the dreaded expats who come here with degrees from Oxford and Cambridge. 

    It is no option to "dumb down" the island by rejecting the expat rocket scientists from Oxford and Cambridge, because that would just destroy the very economic engine that Caymanians would want to engage in.  The starting point must be to take all available steps to maximize the education of Cayman youth to let them become the best that they can be, and to equip them properly to have a fair opportunity in the Cayman economy, and the global economy. 

    The truth of the matter is that the expats who come here with degrees from Oxford and Cambridge are very stiff competition.  Remember that the vast majority of people in the rest of the world are neither smart enough to get to go to Oxford or Cambridge, or good enough to get to come to work in the Cayman Islands’ financial services field.  The expats who come here are among the best that the world has.  Protectionist employment legislation only helps so much – the Cayman youth really do need to be given the tools to rise to the challenge that this field presents, otherwise the protectionist employment legislation at best won’t work properly, and at worst would dumb down the island by rejecting the rocket scientists in favour of lesser-trained locals.  That can’t be right.  The only choice must be in maximizing the education of Cayman youth to give them a fair opportunity to compete here, at the leading edge of the global financial services industry.  That is what Cayman is, and that is what Cayman must preserve.

    That said, It is very distressing to see any delay in the improvement of the quality of education here.  Given that Cayman youth start as wonderful normal children but have a future where they will compete with a concentrated population of the best talent that the world has to offer, the Cayman education system needs to be not just as good as the rest of the world, but instead something truly spectacular that consistently turns these wonderful normal children into rocket scientists who can go get degrees from Oxford and Cambridge and then go on to lead Cayman forward.

    I say the delay is a step in exactly the wrong direction.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree that its the quality of the teachers that matters not nationality.  Of course, its wonderful if children have a Caymanian teacher who loves children and is a great teacher but if we don’t have enough Caymanians then we need to be hiring the teachers who actually love our childen as well as having excellent academic qualifications.  My child has had some wonderful teachers from all over the world.  Sadly, he has also had some terrible teachers and this is both in Government and private schools.  Teachers who obviously didn’t like him – for whatever reason – one of whom had the nerve to tell him she didn’t want to hear his "Caymanian accent" in her class and that he should speak with a proper English accent.  This teacher was not English and her grammar left a lot to be desired.  Some teachers are just here for the money and those are the teachers we don’t need.  To all those teachers wholove their jobs and love teaching the children – thank you.  Having gone through a couple of bad teachers with my child, you really have no idea what an impact you can have on a child – for good or bad.  It is a terrible thing for a child to have to deal with a teacher who doesn’t like thim or her and punishes them unfairly on a daily basis.  On the reverse side of this, its a wonderful experience for a child who knows his teacher loves him – and of couse children have to behave and need to be corrected – but as one lovely teacher from Columbia said, "you have to know how to deal with children to be a teacher".  That’s what some of our teachers are sadly lacking.  When a child knows a teacher doesn’t like him or her, they dread school every single day.and it affects their whole life.

      I also agee that the Education system needs a complete overhaul and as much as i admire the good that the former Minister has done, i’m not sure the propoed open planning learning  at the new high school is the best way to go forward  so can we please stop PPM/UDP and ALL work together for our children’s future.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Blah Blah Blah,

    More stupid emotional rethoric from Alden et al.

    The agrument that ANY government "doesn’t value" education is just pure non sense aimed to try to rile up emotions.

    The fact is that education has been used as a political football by the previous examination to justify wreckless spending on insanely extravaggant school buildings as a "guaranteed reelection vehicle" by the previous administration.  The PPM put a large significant of their election bets on those school buildings, unfortunately for them, the people saw through it.

    What excite students overall and over time ISNT a building!! its TEACHERS!!

    Alden could have used that money and getSTATE OF ART TEACHERS to target the 75% of students of a fraction of the cost.  But he was too busy villifying the expats creating division, again for political gain.


  25. Anonymous says:

    Yes mi Boy Alden Big wheels and big deals You sure left a terrible situation up at that Frank Sound site. Way ya say the Acreage is now?

  26. Anonymous says:

    Is it really any surprise that one of the first areas of Government to be negatively inpacted by the UDP Government is Education? First bold move after the General Election was to sideline the Chief Officer from the Ministry of Education! This was quickly followed by the systematic dismantling and shifting around of other key ministry personel.

    The new Government had to be aware that the new Education Law was coming into effect on September 1st. If they were, then they should have also been very conscious of its importance to the country and our children and that they would need the assistance of every able bodied individual in the Ministry, even those with the smallest amout of knowledge of the new law to assist with the implementation.

    It appears that the long standing personal differences between the current Leader of Government Business andthe former Chief Officer of the Minsitry of Education carried a higher level of importance than our children and the future of this country.

    A progressive Govermnet would have at least kept her and her support staff around long enough to make sure the law was successfully implemented.

    The UDP’s commitment to education has always been questionable, and the very first opportunity given to them to prove their critics wrong was not taken advantage of.

    It is very clear to me that the decision to remove Mrs Martins was taken immediately and before any consideration was given to the needs of the Ministry and Department.

    Inspite of the efforts made over the past four years to bring the importance of our educational needs to an all new level, one hastly decision has set us back once again!

    Lets us all bear in mind that this new Government has not yet served for six months! What next I ask?

    This is going to be the longest four years of our lives!




  27. Anonymous says:

     According to a government press release, the new Education Law will not now come into effect on 1 September as planned, following a decision by the Cabinet to put off its implementation.

    Once again, education, which ought to be the greatest priority for the government and the country, is being forced to take a backseat again.

    The aim of the new law was to promote high standards in education and the teaching profession. Its features included a mandatory national curriculum for all government schools, adding a compulsory school year and raising the school leaving age to 17. It also banned corporal punishment in public and private schools, requiring every school to function under its own written student behaviour and discipline policy.

    All of these things were laudable and worthy advances in the current system. However, according to the Leader of Government Business, Hon. McKeeva Bush, the 1 September startup date did not allow sufficient time for the government to complete necessary consultation and preliminary action required for the law’s proper implementation.

    Surely, the way forward in our educational system has been consulted and acted upon to death and for the entire project to be shelved at the eleventh hour does the country, its school age children of today and tomorrow; their parents and guardians; and future employers – no good whatsoever.

    For too long, education has taken a backseat – to the detriment of our young people and to the economic well-being of society in general.

    We had an opportunity to deal with the education system once and for all, and to make it what it should have been all along – the best one in the region.

    There is a strong consensus among economists that formal education is an important determinant of individual earnings as well as economic growth. And, given the demand for skilled workers in our labour market, if the country is to stand any chance at all of surviving the negative effects of the rollover policy, wehave to invest in training and educating our own Caymanian labour force.

    Simply speaking, they must be equipped with proper education to compete.

    Individuals must therefore acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to increase their value in the labour market. Experience, training, and education are the three main mechanisms for enhancing what is sometimes referred to by economists as “human capital”, with education being primary for most individuals.

    Education enables the acquisition of new skills and knowledge that increase productivity. This increase in productivity frees up resources to create new technologies, new businesses, and new wealth, eventually resulting in increased economic growth. Education is a “public good” in that society benefits from increased education as well as the individual.

    The amount of education acquired by an individual has an important impact on his or her labour market experience. The most direct way that education affects the labor market experience of workers is by increasing their productivity, thus increasing their earnings. The more education individuals acquire, the better they are able to absorb new information, acquire new skills, and familiarise themselves with new technologies.

    The amount of education an individual receives not only affects his or her earnings, but the quality of employment as well.

    The contribution of education to economic growth occurs in two ways. The first is through the creation of new knowledge. More highly educated individuals translate into more scientists, analysts, technicians, and inventors working to increase the stock of human knowledge through the development of new processes and technologies.

    Second, education affects economic growth through the diffusion and transmission of knowledge. Schools provide the education level necessary to understand and digest new information, and a way to transmit new information. Increases in educational levels helped the invention and innovation in the computer industry over the past 30 years, yet without schools to teach how to use computers and new applications, the effect of such innovation would be reduced.

    Surely, we have no choice in relation to education – we must do whatever it takes to bring our education system up to par with the modern world, so that our school leavers are qualified to enter our highly skilled labour market, and the familiar complaints from employees about the general levels of literacy and numeracy will thereby become a thing of the past.

    Yes, it is going to take money and some people may say the country cannot afford it. However, we would respond that we cannot afford not to spend the money and if the funds are not currently available, then they must be found somehow.

    • Anonymous says:

      Alden and the PPM have lost all credibility. They claim that they put education first but that is a joke considering what they did with the building of the new schools.I am glad to see the back of their drunkedness, their arrogance, and their non-light bill paying ways.

      Alden is just pissed as now he will have nothing left to prove he was even a ONE TERM Minister. I for one will be at the opening of the new schools to see the unveiling of a plaque by Premier Bush and Minister Anglin.

      The biggest joke in all of this is that he was inviting Rolston to join the PPM Government as he did not want Rolston wasting away on the backbench. God really does not sleep. Who is wasting away now?


      So long suckers. Who is laughing now? God is great. God is great. God is great

      • Anonymous says:

        Please do not put the UDP and God in the same sentence. 

      • Anonymous says:

        Is that all you can say after such a well written set of comments and about the all important subject of education. It seems to me that this policy and rules should have come into effect long ago to afford yourself a propper education.

  28. Put our children first says:

    One of the key things the current UDP Government has failed to acknowledge is that the Education Law was not just about Alden.  This law and all that went with it seemed to be a true team effort by all stakeholders.  It’s a shame that the work of so many will be totally ignored.   Remember when the UDP said he had done nothing about education?! Now they’re saying he did too much that they can’t get everything ready by Sept. 

    What happens now? What does this do to our children and their future??  How long do we wait to see improvements now??

    I’m not sure why anyone is surprised about the changes that Alden made in education.  He campaigned in 2005 with Education as a priority. Anyone who really looks at this objectively will agree that Education was a priority for him and his Government and I mean beyond building the new schools. 

    It was clear from this year’s campaign trail that the UDP does not value education.  We are now seeing the reality of that.  The sad part is, it’s not Alden that will feel the pinch of this.  Our children will pay for this dearly and our society will suffer because of it.

    This education modernization was an excellent example of consulting stakeholders, developing a plan and executing it sensibly.  This was not some harebrained idea decided over night idea like the current Port fiasco.

    I thank you Minister McLaughlin for putting our children first and striving to give them the best education possible.  You can surely hold your head high in this regard!