Minister back on track

| 30/10/2009

(CNS): After what he described as a very frustrating first half term as the education minister, Rolston Anglin says that his attention is now back on the issues relating to teachers and PTAs. Since taking up office after the election Anglin has focused almost exclusively on the school development projects and the budget but is now turning his attention to the process of addressing what is happening in the schools and preparing the regulations that will underscore the Education Modernisation Law that was passed in March of this year.

Despite this, Anglin admits that the dispute with the developer of the new Clifton Hunter High School and the redevelopment of the John Gray High School, Tom Jones International is not over yet. Although, after a recent stoppage TJI has returned to the John Gray site and resumed work, the minister said that a figure regarding the $15 million or so claimed in change order charges has not yet been settled, but he was hopeful it could be addressed sooner rather than later.

“We know that the figure in question is not going to become zero, so it is in the developer’s interest to settle this too,” he said. “He is going to get something and the sooner we agree on a realistic figure the sooner the developer will be paid.”

Anglin said that a project manager for both the developments had been identified and he would be in post from next week, at which point the senior staff in the ministry and Anglin would be able to re-focus their attention on other matters. He also noted that the PM would be able to give a clearer understanding of where cost reductions on the interior fit-out of the schools can be made. The minister said he was still hopeful that what have been termed some of the "Cadillac items" could still be cut out but and that would be a priority for the new PM.

“Once the project manager arrives we will have a much better understanding of the realistic situation on these projects,” he said adding that it was crucial that this individual was in place as having criticised what had gone before it was important to make sure the current ministry didn’t make the same mistake of trying to manage the project. The minister explained he would soon be at the point where he was no longer required to be involved in the school situation on a day to day basis.

He said his priority now was to assess some of the problems, concerns and frustrations within the existing schools. Although there are good things going on, Anglin observed, not everything was good. He said there were various concerns among teachers about the current numeracy programme and he had his concerns about the behaviour problems in the schools.

Talking about the education law, he said that he wanted to review the regulations and once those were complete, he said there may be some areas that may sit better wrapped up in the law itself. Anglin said he believed the education law was merely a framework with the regulations intended to shape it. Some areas would be about policy, he said, but things such as how truancy is dealt with probably needed to form part of the law. Anglin estimated that the regulations would be ready by the end of the school year in time to implement the law before the next.

“I want to take a holistic view during this review process,” he said. “There may be some things that we will have to include in the law other things will be left in the regulations.”

Anglin once again reiterated why the current government had chosen to delay the law’s implementation when he said that the teachers and other educators were still not ready as they were not familiar with it and there needed to be further consultation and review.

The former education minister, Alden McLaughlin, however, recently observed that many of the changes the law brought to the education system were policies that were already in place in the system and in the schools as they had been rolled out over his term in office. While the law was passed at the end of the last administration McLaughlin noted that he had begun changing policy as much as three years before.  The implementation date had been set for 1 September to coincide with the start of the 2009/10 school year and its delay was described by the former minster as an indication that the content of the law was going to be changed.

“The 1 September start date was carefully considered before it was cited as the day the law would come into force,” McLaughlin said in August. 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.”

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  1. Anonymous says:

     Fact is – in six months – Rolston has done – nothing

  2. Anonymous says:

    To 31/10/09 – 13:58 do you suggest we hire a ‘qualified’ expat like John Tudor?? Of course you wouldn’t be aware of the mess he created while he was Chief Education Officer!! Now, I am not anti-expat because I have many expat friends (cliche, but true) and great expat employees whom I would like to be able to keep, but fact is fact!  Not all expats who get choice jobs are qualified to hold them. Can anyone say Sayad??

    • Anonymous says:

      No. RE-hire the one you have. I have never read a more glowing testimonial than the comment below my first posting. 

    • notdaceo says:

      You make some good points (not all qualified expats are good).  As for Sayed, the problem wasn’t that he wasn’t doing a good job, because according to Alden, he was doing a fantastic job – the problem with him was that he had sticky fingers and liked the cookie jar a bit too much for his and everyone else’s own good.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sunday 11:01:

      In 3 sentences, say why Tudor was so bad-what did he do or not do?


      • Anonymous says:

        Ok, so typically, you haven’t a clue what you are talking about! Just trying to make mischief. You can’t say what Tudor did or did not do because you are a political/civil service bozo making an anti-expat point. Tudor was from elsewhere so he was, by definition, bad!

        IDIOT! I also think he was not the best we could have had as a CEO but not-Jesus Christ-just because you say so wirh no attempt to say why you made your original nasty comment..

        Save us from you neanderthal posters.

  3. Cayman's Future says:

    I certainly hope Minister Anglin will address the shocking lack of progress and accountability in the Early Years Unit and hire a new Head who can get the job done. The position has just been announced on the Brighter Futures website:,1889739&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&p_id=4647653&p_pagegroupid=1408

    I also hope there will be an open and honest attempt to fill this position with qualified Caymanian sensitive to the need of our local community.

    • Anonymous says:

      There is no one in Cayman can do this job but it will go to a Caymanian in order to get that person out of a post that they are not succeeding at now or to reward a political supporter. It has always been that waywhich is why Education Department has historically been staffed by at best mediocre staff. At least Mrs Martins saw that and retired some of them-a major service to the children of Cayman, whatever other faults she may have had.

      • Anonymous says:

        There are only a few Caymanians who can do this job… but as you stated… it will go to someone who is not perfoming… results will not change.

        • been there says:

          Non performers voting for non performers =Non performers.  No we know what the problem is but like you said……results will not change.

          Unless someone in charge hires someone who already has the skill and experiance needed to do the job correctly in the first place and train those who might be next in line how to do it right.   Or like the Goverment just keep proving to everyone That just being a Caymanian without the skill and or experience seldom works. Unless you call unskilled and unexperienced leaders hireing only less skilled and less experienced workers so they look like they know something.  (Its not working)   Soon come-what you deserve

        • Anonymous says:

          It is more important to hire a Caymanian who has just enough qualifications to do a job barely competently than a foreigner who can do it better.  Never underestimate the importance of that phrase that terrifies employers "a suitably qualified Caymanian". 

    • Anonymous says:

       As a pre school owner and teacher on the island I would like to respond to the above statement regarding Mrs. Kate Marnoch. Since commencing her post as Head of Childhood Services, radical changes have taken place. Mrs. Marnoch is extensively trained and experienced. She is refreshingly energetic and motivated and makes it her business to be available for advice and input. Classroom visits have dramatically increased as she makes regular and informative spot observations.

      Since she assumed the post as Head of Childhhood Services there has been an impressive increase of  courses available to the benefit of the childrenand childcare staff in the Cayman Islands. Mrs. Marnoch is essential.  F+@GG

    • Anonymous says:


      You know that there isn’t a qualified Caymanian capable of doing this job. Stop trying to cause trouble.

      • Anonymous says:

        4+ years in post and not one local citizen trained up for the job, sounds like the vestiges of the British empire are alive and well in Cayman.

  4. Teecha says:

    When is the work set to commence on the new George Town Primary School? Or are we all happy leaving our students crammed 30+ in a classroom with no support for the teachers and micro-managed Principals?

    • Anonymous says:

      So, are you supplying the funding to build a new GT Primary? I thought everyone was aware that this country has no money for any other big projects.

      • Teecha says:

        So you are providing the funding for the influx of inmates to Northward and Fairbanks? Find it.

      • Anonymous says:

        Mr Dart should’ve built GT  school for free

        • Unna Kiddin? says:

          Very true.  He should also pay your light bill.  And mine.  If he would just do all this, we would eradicate our unreasonable title as a society of entitlement and all will be good.  Oh, by the way, my gas tank is a little low,so I think he should cover that too…   And the kids said they want KFC for dinner, so if he could just spring for that…

          GROW UP PEOPLE!!!


    • Anonymous says:

      I am glad to hear that he is finally back on track, because all that he & his udp puppets have done since May is blame everything on the PPM, they cant pp without talking about the PPM! After 6 months they are still unable to govern, everything they do is supposedly as a "reaction" to what the PPM did! When will they start to run the country?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Why is that this education modernization law is being kept a secret?  Why weren’t teachers, parents and students given this law to look at.  I would have thought that it could have at least been posted on the government’s website so that we all can see what the law is about.

    Our leaders in education seem to have forgotten about all they have learnt in their leadership training.  Or is it that they are not trained?  Maybe it is time the new minister and the chief officer start scrutinizing the qualifications and experiences of those who are at the very top, leading education in this country.  It is quite clear that there are issues with leadership and that is why people are frustrated and overwhelmed. 

    The common ideas of phased implementation, consultation and human resource management have been thrown out of the education system today. Teachers are merely "slaves" being paid to do a job rather than partners in education.  And don’t be fooled, there is no real consultation.  Forget what is being said about the national education conference in 2005.  It is only a sham.  Our leaders are still forcing their own ideas down teachers’ throats.

    I hope the new Minister and the Chief Officer will be able to tackle the real issues in education and restore morale within the profession.  It is only through real partnerships with the teachers on the ground that we will see real improvements in teaching and learning in this country.

    • notdaceo says:

      Patronage, nepotism and double standards at the very top have left many teachers, discouraged and frustrated.  I would argue that it isn’t leadership that the Department of Education lacks, but rather the wrong type of leadership.  Decisions are based on the way that matters play out in the public forum, with little or no concern as to whether they are right or wrong.  Rules and regulations are selectively enforced, depending on who you are and who you know.  And of course, as with many other gov’t departments, transparency is just a 12 letter word, loosely tossed around, and just as quickly forgotten.

      Phased implementation is a punch line to a great joke.  Old programs and practices are discarded and replaced by new fads every year or two.  Little thought is given to their effectiveness and consequent results.  They are rammed down teacher’s throats, resulting in immesurable confusion and frustration.  "Consultation" and teachers being "partners in education" are catch-phrases that sound great in the press but remain non-existent in practice.  The haphazard new programs and practices, when combined with a huge increase in paperwork, in-school and after-school meetings, training, and after-school activities and responsibilities create a perfect storm – the often overwhelmed teachers find little if any time to do any actual teaching. 

      As you correctly point out, "Forget what is being said about the national education conference in 2005.  It is only a sham."  Sadly, this sham is perpetuated on the children of these Islands in order that the leaders can claim that the Education system of the Cayman Islands is on the cutting/leading edge. 

      Morale will only improve when teachers:

      1.   are allowed to express their true opinions

      2.  are themselves empowered to bring about the changes that are truly necessary

      3.  government stops spending millions of dollars on consultants who are out of touch with the realities in the classroom

      4.  note that those in the upper echelons of the Department of Education treat everyone equally, fairly, and make the unpopular decisions that may be right

      5.  can actually go back into their classrooms to teach

      • Anonymous says:

        Well said.  The truth must be known.

      • Anonymous says:

        FACTS please- which consultants are being paid millions?  FACTS only or just stop talking about things you know nothing about  

    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds like a teacher who’s not keeping up. One of the major problems is that some of the teachers are c@#p at their job and they are the ones that are most likely to fight change. Consultation is all very well but at some stage you have to tell the c@#p teachers that they have to step up or ship out. they can’t drag the whole system down. They can come on CNS and whine about how no one listens to them but they may BE the problem – ever thought of that? Change need to happen.

      • Anonymous says:

        No one is arguing about the inevitability of change and yes change is necessary every now and again, particularly in education which is so dynamic.  However, there must be effective leadership for change to take place.  My argument is that you cannot expect to change everything all at once, especially when human beings are involved.  A more effective approach would be a phased one.  Take it component by component and give people time to understand and implement these components.  This wholescale change strategy is a recipe for failure. For heaven’s sake, this is a fact researched for years gloabally and we are dealign with human beings.  Is it just an image? Do we just want to announce to the world that we are changing and we will have a first class education system?  Or is that we genuinely want the change to be successful so that our children will benefit?  I am not feeling the latter!  The approach to the change process must be changed now if we want the system to succeed.  Swallow pride and do what is necessary now!

        • notdaceo says:

          The present wholescale changes are definitely influenced by "image" and politics.  It looks and feels great to say that you’re a leader, the best.  Self-advertisement is cheap and effective, even if you’re full of hot air – just ask Donald Trump. 

  6. AJ says:

    Please don’t play politics with the future of our children anymore!  Don’t forget, Anglin, that you must also work from the bottom today to get the best results for tomorrow.  Meaning that the primary school issues must be addressed.  When a child leaves primary school with little knowledge, it is the hardest thing to bring them back up to speed.

    Parents need to get involed too if everyone wants to see a positive outlook for the next generation.  Anglin, might I suggest that if a child is not up to par with their school work (such as homeworks not being done, refusing to behave in class, missing school/classes) that parents be brought up for child neglect?  I know this is a harsh view but what else can you do if the teachers do their jobs then so must the parents!  It is an absolute shame when/if we have to start forcing parents to pay attention to their children.

    I know that there will be some serious disagreements with the above proposition and any other solutions are most welcomed.  The above solution would/should be as an absolute last resort, however, it is better to solve the problem from the root instead of on the surface.

    Happy Friday everyone!

    • Anonymous says:

      I absolutely agree with you.  The foundation years in primary school are all important to the future success of our children and the quality of their education. My child attended one of our local private schools from kindergarten through to year 11 but struggled with math and sciences because of the learning gaps from the primary level.  And, yes, it is a partnership and parents must become involved in their children’s education. Believe me, even when you are involved it is difficult to monitor your child’s  "real" progress as opposed to the overinflated report cards given to you! Suddenly when o’levels are being prepared for and sat one understands the reality of the myth that was previously presented.

    • Anonymous says:

      Your back on track?  It remains to be seen if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Prove that you are up for this by doing something positive!