Anglin-McLaughlin face off

| 27/08/2009

(CNS): Minister of Education, Rolston Anglin, and the former education minister, Alden McLaughlin, faced off in the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday (26 August) over education policy, the Education Modernisation Law and the situation with the new schools. While the former minister accused the new minister of abandoning the positive policies he had put in place, the new minister accused the former of building monuments to excess.

As Anglin lamented the problems he faced dealing with the development of the new schools, McLaughlin challenged him to release the latest exam results. The heated exchange between the two politicians is unique in modern parliamentary political history as Anglin is the first sitting education minister facing an immediate predecessor in opposition.

Answering questions regarding his commitment to the implementation of the International Baccalaureate, Anglin admitted that teachers and educators said it was a step in the right direction but he would not commit to its adaptation. He added that when he arrived in the ministry there was no formal research to justify its adoption and he was undertaking a cost analysis and review of its implementation.

Following questions from his opposition counterpart, the minster made three statements on education issues — the first justifying the delay in the implementation of the education law, the second regarding the current situation with the school development projects, and the third on the need for a systematic review of the scholarship process.

Anglin said that the former minister was misleading the public about the decision to delay the implementation of the new education law with his emotional outbursts to the press. The new education minister said he was committed to implementing the previous education minister’s law but he would not be intimidated by "political posturing” to implement it before the necessary work was done.

“The former minister has reportedly told the press he is devastated,” Anglin said. “But these emotional outbursts are about ego.  Well, I have a word of advice for him: education reform is not about him it’s about our children,” Anglin said, asking him what successes he had actually enjoyed during his four years.

McLaughlin responded by asking the minister if he was going to publish the exam results for this year, which he said were the best Cayman had ever seen since it started to record examination results and suggested that was at least one success indicator. CNS understands that this year’s results for those leaving the public school system were more than 10% better than previous years. Historically only around 22-23% of Cayman students have averaged five passes or more at O’ level and equivalent examinations since records were kept. However, passes for 2009 may be as high as 38%, offering a significant improvement in 16 plus exam results. Anglin said he would be releasing the statistics and was pleased that they were positive.

The new minister reserved his major criticisms of his predecessor for his statement on the update of the school development projects at the John Gray Campus and the Clifton Hunter site.

“An inordinate amount of my time and that of my chief officer has been spent on putting these two projects on a stronger footing,” he said. He condemned the former minster for not having a project manager in place and for the excesses that had arisen because he did not set realistic budgets but told designers to build to meet an “educational vision".

Anglin said he was recently forced to go to Cabinet to secure an extra $6.83 million that was needed to pay for works that had been completed over and above work budgeted for in this financial year, which he said was typical of the challenges he now faced in managing the projects.

He also warned of further problems ahead in that Caymanian teachers were not prepared to succeed in the new teaching environments the schools provided and that that there has been no budgetary provision for the furniture, fixtures and equipment, or maintenance and operational requirements for the two new schools. “While I have taken some urgent action to bring some measure of stability and to staunch the flow of blood on these projects, we still need a cure,” the new minister told the Legislative Assembly.

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  1. anon1 says:

    Well….. does these excellent results with the old school buildings mean that we did not really need to spend $100 million on new schools like Alden said we needed.

    It is my opinion that teachers are the source of good grades and Aldens efforts to improve teachers moral and accountability was what was really needed in the first place.

    Concrats Alden for improving the accountability of the teachers.

    Ronston slow down on the expensive new schools that are not really needed until the Governments financial position improves so that I can congratulate you as well …. be bold, the students will reward you.

  2. Educate them! says:

    Cayman would be better off if so much of our you were not brainwashed into thinking the world was created by magic 6,000 years ago and that evolution and physics are not myths.  Dropping religious education is the best idea.

    • Anonymous says:

      It sounds very much like you need some religious education instead of anti-religious bigotry.

      • Fossil Phil says:

        Are you making a case for the world being created 6,000 years ago by magic? 

  3. Jedi Dread says:


    The Caymanian Public loves you both.

    However, we need you Gentlemen to set an example, by the both you’s working together, to acomplish said goals.

    You both have well thought out plans, for education in the Cayman Islands to move foward.

    Both of you, come accross the aisles, shake hands and put your brilliant minds together and let’s git ‘er done!

    My support and gratittude to you both.

    – Jedi Dread – 

    P.S. We won’t let bygones be bygones anymore, but this doesn’t mean we can’t all work to together, for the greater good.

    • Jedi Dread says:

       Before the haters jump in and mess it all up…

      "You are your brothers’ keeper."

      Just sayin’…

      – Jedi Dread –