Schools not an ‘experiment’

| 02/02/2011

(CNS): Award winning school designer Prakash Nair (left) flew into Cayman yesterday in order to answer the criticisms and disparaging remarks made about the new Cayman Islands high schools that he and the late Jeffery Lackney designed. Nair said the current minister only seems to understand the concepts of 1950s instruction, which will not prepare the next generation of school leavers for the competitive world of work they will face. Denying that there was anything experimental about the schools he created for Cayman, he said the concepts are already being used around the world in awarding winning, exceptionally successful schools. “It is not an experiment when a concept has already been proven to succeed,” he said.

Nair spoke to CNS about the disparaging comments Rolston Anglin, the current education minister, had made on public radio in Cayman and in the country’s Legislative Assembly about both the schools and the designers and pointed out that it is the children who will be let down by a return to past failures.

Having designed hundreds of schools on five continents, in 32 different countries, in deprived and difficult areas, as well as in communities where parents have high expectations, Nair says he has not come to Cayman to defend his reputation. That is perfectly intact, he added, not least because of the string of success andawards he and his partners have enjoyed for their work creating and redesigning schools, but he says he is in Cayman to try and save the learning communities he designed in the best interests of the children of the Cayman Islands.

Admitting he is a futurist, Nair asked: “But who else would you want to design schools? Someone rooted in the past? Children are in the future. They are the future. We cannot anticipate what their world will be but we know already that they will face the most competitive work environment. Children from the Cayman Islands will be competing on the world stage for work with people from China and India, whose populations are so vast those governments can afford to lose thousands of people from the education system. Cayman cannot afford to lose one student.”

Having designed what has been awarded the world’s best school by the oldest educational body in the world, Nair has also redesigned schools in intercity areas, such as Detroit and New York, where students were failing in huge numbers and turned them around to create places where children are thrilled to learn and with pass rates exceeding all expectations. He says no two schools that he has created are identical but they are all designed to inspire learning.

The architect said he believed the current minster simply does not understand the design and how the spaces create more positive learning environments but misunderstands the concept. He said the minister has also misled the Cayman public as the schools are designed with many classrooms and closed areas for quiet learning. He said there would never be a scenario where four different teachers are taking four different classes in the same space.

Nair said none of his partners are doing anything to justify their expensive consultants’ fee, a charge the minister made against him, and he pointed out that had he only been interested in the fee he would have opted for a “cells and bells” (the traditional instruction classroom) approach as that is still what many people want schools to be and seems to cause less waves.

“We don’t design those kinds of schools where children are treated like cattle; we design spaces where all children are encouraged, motivated and inspired to learn,” he said. “We designed schools here where Caymanian children could grow and succeed instead of continuing to fail by repeating the mistakes of the past.”

Anglin’s dismissal of the design of the schools comes as no surprise to Nair, who says the current minister is, like many other people, stuck in the past image of what a school should be and is afraid to embrace the change.

Nair noted, however, how odd it is that in every other aspect of our lives we recognize that the environments need to be modern. He said people seem to expect teachers to do their work in dated environments, despite the phenomenal changes already taking place in education. He said that while people would never expect the pilot of a modern aircraft to land that plane on a runway designed for a small plane for a bygone era, we expect our teachers to educate our children in spaces designed in the 1950s.

“There are 20 different ways that we learn,” Nair said. “Standing at the front of the class and lecturing is only one of them. Our schools are designed to allow teachers to utilize the other 19 ways and whatever it takes to inspire students to learn these learning communities can facilitate that.”

Nair noted that it often takes teachers time to understand the spaces and how they can utilize them but once they have taken on the infinite possibilities they present, he said, no one ever wants to return to the cells of the past. However, the designer has warned that Cayman is heading into the past if it undermines the design principles that underpin the new high schools and return to a system that has been demonstrated to fail instead of embracing the future, which hesays has been proven to work.

Commending the previous minister for having not just a vision of a better future for Caymanian students but for being willing to take the risks to turn around the past failures, Nair said he truly hoped that the real purpose of the new schools to inspire children to learn can be saved.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Clearly this whole approach is an ongoing experiment. To believe otherwise is to believe that the "new" dishwashing soap you just bought is actually new.

    • Prakash says:

      I’m sure that the Cayman community and the students of Cayman will appreciate how succinctly you have captured this entire conversation. And how much deep thought you have put into this important issue.  Dishwashing soap! Now why didn’t someone else think about that! But seriously, get serious. I have taken the time to provide detailed responses below to the doubters and I have done so with lots of references to real projects. Our website,,, and pretty much every single site dedicated to education research supports what we were doing in Cayman. But no. Why bother with all that when we can all have the benefit of your great wisdom!!


  2. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Prakash,

    I have noticed that you posted some comments, so I was wondering if you could answer my question:

    I would be curious to find out if you and/or your firm usually find this kind of debate and resistance happening in the community when you are building a school based on the new concepts, or is this kind of reaction displayed in Cayman a somewhat “unique” situation?

    • Prakash says:

       Unfortunately, yes we go get beaten up a lot which goes with the territory. If we were designing airports or hospitals laypeople would not consider attacking our credibility. However, everyone is an "expert" when it comes to schools and education because all of us have been to school. And so you have people comparing what they see as "good schools" all around and wondering why these designs are so different. As happens with anything new and unfamiliar, people’s first reaction is to think this is some kind of "new age fad" when in fact we are simply proposing ideas that have worked across the world. Also, people define "success" differently. They see kids doing well on exams sitting in traditional schools and assume that is "success" without considering that China and Korea will kick everyone’s behind if "rote learning" is all we are interested in. If Cayman wants to enter the next generation as an economic powerhouse, we have to start focusing on critical thinking skills. On giving students strong problem solving and collaboration skills. They have to work on inter-disciplinary projects because almost every job in their lifetimes will be inter-disciplinary and because colleges are demanding more than SAT and test scores. yes a safe, dry and clean environment will go a long way towards fixing the horrible state of your schools but these environments will not help your students acquire the skills they will need to prosper in their lifetimes. So go on comparing what Alden’s vision for your nation and we proposed against the so-called "good" private schools or set the bar a bit higher and say, "why should government school kids copy these schools? Why cant we set the bar higher and let them copy us for a change?" Believe me, we have turned around the education system of  many communities just like yours and it was the private schools that then started to panic and decided to follow the government’s lead. But you know what? Prejudices and obstinacy are hard to reform. There are some people who will continue to attack us because it is easier to do that then to do a simple google search or take the time to visit our website and read the many publications and research studies thattalk about what it means to be educated in the 21st Century. Thank you for your question and I hope I have answered it fully.  

    • Prakash says:

       Unfortunately, yes we go get beaten up a lot which goes with the territory. If we were designing airports or hospitals laypeople would not consider attacking our credibility. However, everyone is an "expert" when it comes to schools and education because all of us have been to school. And so you have people comparing what they see as "good schools" all around and wondering why these designs are so different. As happens with anything new and unfamiliar, people’s first reaction is to think this is some kind of "new age fad" when in fact we are simply proposing ideas that have worked across the world. Also, people define "success" differently. They see kids doing well on exams sitting in traditional schools and assume that is "success" without considering that China and Korea will kick everyone’s behind if "rote learning" is all we are interested in. If Cayman wants to enter the next generation as an economic powerhouse, we have to start focusing on critical thinking skills. On giving students strong problem solving and collaboration skills. They have to work on inter-disciplinary projects because almost every job in their lifetimes will be inter-disciplinary and because colleges are demanding more than SAT and test scores. yes a safe, dry and clean environment will go a long way towards fixing the horrible state of your schools but these environments will not help your students acquire the skills they will need to prosper in their lifetimes. So go on comparing what Alden’s vision for your nation and we proposed against the so-called "good" private schools or set the bar a bit higher and say, "why should government school kids copy these schools? Why cant we set the bar higher and let them copy us for a change?" Believe me, we have turned around the education system of  many communities just like yours and it was the private schools that then started to panic and decided to follow the government’s lead. But you know what? Prejudices and obstinacy are hard to reform. There are some people who will continue to attack us because it is easier to do that then to do a simple google search or take the time to visit our website and read the many publications and research studies that talk about what it means to be educated in the 21st Century. Thank you for your question and I hope I have answered it fully.  

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you for answering my question. Personally, I believe that since we are building a new school anyway, rather than repeating the same old concept (that has not proven to be very successful) it is time to take a leap of faith and apply a new concept. I wished that just for once Cayman could see the bigger picture and think ahead, rather than constantly trying to catch up 10, 15 or even 20 years down the road.

      • Anonymous says:

        I am interested in the statement you made: “turned around the education system of many communities just like yours ” Can you let us know which education systems these were?

        • Prakash says:

           Sure, three key examples. Reece Community School in Tasmania (please see the story "Lessons from Tasmania" in the publications section of our website. We also reinvented vocational education in Sri Lanka after the Tsunami. The other high profile project we are working in is in Saskatchewan which has been struggling with 5% graduation rates. Already our work has started to show significant educational improvements there and we expect a full turnaround there within a few years at the most. Then you have the Cristo Rey network of schools — now graduating over 99% of students with at-risk populations normally graduating in the 25% range. See this project on our website or google 60 Minutes and Cristo Rey to get the national story about  them. Then you have Hip Hop High (High School for the Recording Arts), which took kids who would have been dead, on drugs or in jail (30% of them homeless) and provided a school where a majority of them are succeeding (also on our website). Avalon school in St. Paul is now an inner city success story with one of the highest academic achievements in the area and long waiting lists — once again catering to at-risk inner city kids. Just a few examples but there are lots more…

  3. Anonymous says:

    unna stop pissing off Prakash!! He ga go home and talk bout unna ya na..

    and den Austin and Gilbert gine call us all idjots cause we don’t like dem open air classrooms. unna behave unna self now and try so listen to Alden. He ga help us stop speaking like dis in one dem open air classrooms.

  4. Anonymous says:

    This does not make much sense to me. I don’t know about everyone else but I am glad to know that my children, grandchildren will be able to attend schools where their environment is nice and I am sure this will help them to want to study harder, it will be nicer for the teachers too. Mr. Rolston please do not tear down for tear down sake or to get back at the previous minister, he thought what he was doing was in the best interest of the children for he has a passion about education and I think that all comes from his grand father, even though you don’t have any one in your background that were educators I am sure you too have the children at heart, so if you go changing things around to the oldfashioned way, would’nt you be running up a whole lot more money again too. Think my boy Rollie, I want to see you succeed and I don’t believe this is the way to do it, you are getting a lot of critisems for this even from the same people you work with, so be careful boy what you do for the father up above is looking down on you, so be careful what you do. Think about what your are doing, and make the right decisions. God bless you Rollie boy.

  5. frustrated says:

    Funny i was looking at some videos and photos of lessons and classrooms in Finland and South Korea. Apparently “Cells and Bells” seems to be working for some “top” students around the world. Oh, let’s not look so far away. Take a look at Guyana…Trinidad…Barbados. These students are kicking our students behinds academically in classrooms that often make the ones we have NOW look like palaces. Before everyone starts singing about “New Age” and blah blah blah just spend a day at our high schools. Just go there and sit down and look and listen to our students. They don’t value education and neither do their parents. You think fancy buildings is going to change that? It begins at home. Stop buying them cell phones and I-Pods and start teaching them that they go to school to learn not to text while the lessons are going on. While you’re at it tell them that they need to start respecting themselves and their teachers (some who are actually in it to help and not for a paycheck and vacation). Start spending time with them and helping them with their homework….oh i forgot…they don’t have any tonight. Leaders in government, take charge. Stop paying these people to come in and tell you what is best for your children when you have hundreds of teachers, principals etc who can give you the best insight. They KNOW what the problems are and i’ll bet their solutions suggestions won’t cost you millions of dollars. Show up at the high schools un-announced and just step into a classroom, stand on a corridor, look and see for yourself what is going on. Why are the private schools out-performing the public ones? They are in “cells” . The difference is the attitude. It’s not the building. Otherwise we wouldnt have the many doctors, lawyers, accountants, scientists, teachers, (you get the point) that sat in cells and listened to bells. Problem with education is the minute someone shows upon island with a package and a price tag and says “Here Cayman, buy this it will help your children” leaders just jump in and purchase because it looks good and sounds good. Education begins at home and sadly it is parents that are failing our children. No discipline, no respect for others or themselves, love of material possessions, (I’m talking about the parents and children now). After Ivan there was a student from the Brac who was sent to Grand Cayman to attend high school. After one week her words were “these children dont want to learn…they don’t care…they are rude to the teachers…they curse…” It was sad to listen to and very embarassing. So our solution is to put them in pods and hope that they will “care” for their surroundings. Have you seen what they do to the restrooms at the high school? It all starts at home. There are a few basic lessons that need to be learned first and it’s the parents that need to be learning them! At this time i would like to thank the parents that actually try with their children. Keep it up and don’t give up on them. Thanks to the dedicated teachers that work hard through the education circus over the years and just try hard to keep teaching because it is important. Cayman, you don’t need fancy schools. we need much more than that and it doesn’t cost a thing. We need to come to the understanding that a good education begins in the home. So start…..

    • Prakash says:

      First, let me respond by saying that it is a cop out to blame the students and parents for failing in an education system that cares little about whether students succeed or fail. Can students like the ones you describe succeed? Absolutely. Please see the Met School Case Study in Rhode Island that took students exactly like the ones you are describing and turned them around. The Met School took students that everyone else had given up on as high school dropouts and created a system with 100% graduation and 100% college attendance. Don’t believe me? Go to and buy the book, “One Kid at a Time”. Met School’s philosophy about creating caring small learning communities closely mirrors what we tried to do in Cayman. Students need to know that they are recognized by adults the minute they walk through the doors and not be anonymous. We broke down the scale of your schools in this manner. Met school students don’t learn “subjects” like the private schools you have cited but they learn about connecting learning with real world experiences and have internships in the community. As for Finland, they too practice the same principles we support. Here is what makes Finland successful (I’m quoting education expert Diane Ravitch): Its education system is modeled on American progressive ideas. It is student-centered. It has a broad (and non-directive) national curriculum. Its teachers are drawn from the top 10 percent of university graduates. They are highly educated and well prepared. Students never take a high-stakes test; their teachers make their own tests. The only test they take that counts is the one required to enter university. Last week, I went to a luncheon with Pasi Sahlberg, the Finnish education expert. I asked him the question that every politician asks today: "If students don’t take tests, how do you hold teachers and schools accountable?" He said that there is no word in the Finnish language for "accountability." He said, "We put well-prepared teachers in the classroom, give them maximum autonomy, and we trust them to be responsible."  I asked him if teachers are paid more for experience. He said, "Of course." And what about graduate degrees? He said, "Every teacher in Finland has a master’s degree." He added: "We don’t believe in competition among students, teachers, or schools. We believe in collaboration, trust, responsibility, and autonomy."

      Finland is extremely interested in our work and wants to model their new school facilities according to our ideas. I have been to Finland and our firm led an international innovative schools conference in Oulu, Finland to discuss precisely how the great education system that Finland and other innovative educational systems worldwide have can be married to the kind of facilities we design.  Coming out of this Microsoft asked us to run an international Webinar for their Innovative Schools program that reached 70 countries. Microsoft has also distributed our book, The Language of School Design to all 70 countries who are interested in developing the next generation of 21st century schools. Hey but don’t worry about all this. You are obviously the “expert” that everyone should listen to.  I think you have not been listening when I have repeated time and again that the school buildings are only ONE PIECE of the education reform puzzle. If the other pieces are not in place, yes, Cayman will remain stuck in the past and the millions you are spending on these buildings will be a complete waste. But coupled with the other reform efforts that Alden was proposing, you would be the one kicking behinds with these world class facilities.

  6. Seaside says:

    It’s a crying shame that two individuals have tainted the perception of Caymanian intelligence……..very sadly and embarrassingly, not a good one.

    Unfortunately more reputational damage will be done on an international level as this ‘one pissed-off and highly insulted foreigner’ will tell his friends, family and colleagues, and possibly use them two as an example of ‘professional experts’ later on in their career.

    How do we repair such damage when narrow-minded people like these keep bringing us down!!??

    Thankfully, Prakash has seen that a few of us Caymanians have more intelligence than those two crabs!!!

    • Prakash says:

      Please be reassured that I have met hundreds of smart, compassionate Caymanians who really care about your schools. Having visited so many schools and talked to so many education stakeholders, I know the hardships they face and we were inspired to develop this world class design whichwe did in a highly interactive process. That means, these schools came about because your community demanded them not because we had some preconceived agenda about your needs! I have been welcomed into your community and feel very much like a "local Camanian" and not like a foreigner.  I’m certainly not pissed off at the people of Cayman but, like in every community, there are a few closed-minded people who are always looking for a conspiracy theory. I hope that the voices of reasonable people like you will prevail and that you will not allow this important issue to become another political football. This has nothing to do with my reputation or your political parties or who "wins" or "loses" the debate but it has everything to do with how well your students will succeed and what are your aspirations for the future of your nation. Let us not get sidetracked by the immature and amateur attacks but stay focused on what really matters. I have responded to some of the more unreasonable attacks on me but only because I wanted to enlighten the people of Cayman that this issue is not so black and white like these people would like you to believe and provide additional resources that would help people decide for themselves what is right and wrong BASED on the FACTS.

  7. anonymous says:

    I Cannot believe so many bloggers are making a mockery of Mr. Pakash Nair and Alden Mclaughlin about the schools.  They are right and Rolston Anglin is wrong in changing the concept of the school.  I have been to many countries and this designed concept and Community teaching concept actually is working and producing great community oriented and educational people around the world.  If Cayman is asking the world to come here to Invest, don’t you think we should advance our Education forward too to accomodate?  Why is it so many people are acting so naive to the fact that this concept will actually work.  You have to change your mentality and advance your thinking. Have you taken the time to research and study what was being introduced to us? No!!  You know why, because our current leader says "you don’t need an education to run the country mentality is running rampant amongst us". I applaud Mr. McLaughlins efforts to popell us into the 21st. Century with our Education system.  Mr. Rolston I implore you to study the concept, sit down with Mr. McLaughlin  and if that is not possible, study the plan that was left in the Ministry and sit down with Mr. Pakash and understand what was being built.  Stop this propaganda machine nonsense of undoing everything PPM started, so that it will look like UDP is doing something.  Remember what Ezzard said, just look at what McKeeva did with the Dr. Hortor Hospital.  Don’t let that happen.  Please give our student what they so deservedly needs.  Give them the opportunity to become the best in the Caribbean, the world.  Give them the tools to be innovative and productive citizens in our community, give them hope Mr. Rolston. I beg you…

    Study this site and more:

  8. Seaside says:

    It was extremely educational, both from the child-learning perspective and also to hear, first-hand, the experts providing us audience the knowledge and reasoning for such decisions and directives given to our former education minister.

    Honesntly, I can personally attest that Alden did expose the plans to the entire public of Grand Cayman (the island-wide meetings that barely anyone attended AND the specific meetings with parents at the JGHS) and also took time to explain and show anyone who was interested in seeing and understanding what these new schools are about. I am one of those persons – I can attest to this fact!! Those schools are awesome!! You ought to see the vidoes on them!! Once I had taken the time to speak with him, I often felt over-whelm with national pride, that ONE govt member was giving us Caymanians the very best!! What an awesome thing BUT sadly tho, you can’t force people to be interested or to care about something that they have no interests in L……reminds me of “you can lead a horse to the well but you can’t force him to drink”. Its so typical of Caymanians to tear-down what they don’t like, don’t understand and make a mockery out of it and then later come to realise that they were foolish to do so. This is now where Rolston comes into the picture.

    Its TRUE about the non-progression and devastating disasters that the UDP govt has casued and continue to cause to the infrastructure, educational and financial wealth of our country.

    I heard two non-sensical and embarrassing persons call in to the talk-show……..Lets see if we can get a copy of that session and constantly replay it for our children to remind them to never become like these two!! Sad, sad, sad, that these two individuals are a destructive force only for personal gains……in my opinion.

    Mr. Ezzard called in to the talk-show and supported Alden, Parash and the UK gentleman on their research and intelligence on the matter. He also raised the same concerns on the Dr. Horter Hospital project that we now face with these two schools.

    Caymanians NEED to develop a practical approach to what they hear. They NEED to learn to conduct their own independant research before they start tearing down someone’s else. They NEED to investigate and concluded for themselves rather than take a ‘hear-say’ approach. They NEED to become CONSTRUCTIVE in their way of thinking rather than remaining in this negative and destructive mode than their present gear they’re stuck in. We NEED a new generation of Caymanian way of thinking. We NEED persons with open minds and constructive criticism that bring about positve, productive and educated results. FIRST, we NEED to change the present government!!!

    My final point/question is: HOW are we going to get them West Bayers to see the detriment of their elected members and to re-elect another team for that district????? HOW?????

  9. Anonymous says:

     I thought it was pretty lame for Alden to bring on the "Building Architect" to his defense on national radio, to not only defend his budget for the building, but to also make the argument on how this building and/or changing the configuration of the building was somehow detrimental to education.  Really?  

    So basically, had we only spent a measly 20 million dollars on a building, as opposed to the 70 million futuristic learning building…  Then not only would not have been teaching our kids adequately, but according to your logic, we would have been sucking what ever knowledge there was on our kids heads right out!  It would have been sorta like a negative vacuum unlearning because the difference in cost.


    • Prakash says:

      Yes, really. Changing the configuration means going back to an education model that has failed miserably. Hope you have been reading all the responses of this "building architect" on this forum and realize that this is not about the architecture but about a whole new way to deliver education. And if you are still not convinced then just google "21st century skills" or go to or our website at and check out the videos and publications. Not sure where you get your $20 million and $70 million numbers either. Please grow up and have an adult conversation instead of your sarcasm.  Suddenly you are the voice of reason and suddenly you know exactly how much should be spent on schools that will be around for the next 100 years and educate tens of thousands of Caymanian students. Also, you guys, have the courage of your convictions to put your name on your comments as I have done. 

  10. Anonymous says:

    One simple and logical thought…If the PRIVATE schools are out competing our PUBLIC ones in 1970/1980 buildings (yes, “the cells and bells” model) it is clear that the physical buildings that Alden has spent $120,000,000 on are not the solution. That is a simple conclusion to me.

    Cells and Bells nor garden learning centres will not allow our students to do better. Alden and the architect can pontificate all he wants but that is the real story here.

  11. Anonymous says: he telling us that these schools would produce better students than Cayman Prep, Triple C and Cayman International because they have the wrong type of buildings?

    Let me tell you something Mr. Nair, I hold a Masters Degree and an excellent job and every school I attended had classrooms(and not cells as you and Alden call them) and I turned out just fine. Never once in my entire schooling did I feel that I was put in  a cell. XXXX


    • Prakash says:

      You Are Still in a "Cell" because of how close minded you are. It’s a pity that you would boil down this article to such simplistic terms. "I”m successful so my kids should learn exactly as I did". Here’s an analogy that may help you understand why that makes no sense at all. I had a boss once who grew up in a bombed out Bronx neighborhood. He went on to work in the Clinton White House. Therefore, one might argue that in order for kids to be be successful, we should make all neighborhoods look like the Bronx! Even worse, you refuse to see that your education happened in a different time and age where "paradigm shifts" (where all the rules change) happened a couple of times in a lifetime. Your kids will be hit with a snowstorm of paradigm changes in their lifetime — they will change CAREERS about 6 or 7 times (not jobs). The 21st century skills and competencies they need are FAR DIFFERENT than what a traditional "good school" would provide. My daughter attended some of the finest schools in NYC and went on to a great college and she thought she was really "smart" until she hit the workplace but had a really tough time adjusting to the real world. How do I know? Because she works for me. My son attends a "blue ribbon school of excellence" in Tampa but he hated being trapped in classrooms all day. In discussions with his principal, we realized that while he may score highly in exams, he was missing out on he real learning that colleges and employers are now demanding. These are critical thinking and problem solving abilities, the ability to work in collaborative, inter-age and interdisciplinary teams and integrate technology seamlessly, possess strong social and emotional skills, be engaged and passionate about learning and become a happy, and balanced global citizen. And so we redesigned his school (Hillel School Tampa on our website) and performance in all areas has jumped. But more important, students and teachers are so much happier.  Of course the building is just the physical manifestation of what all this looks like but without the spaces that support these modes of learning, the teachers are stuck delivering the education they delivered to you. Which worked in your generation but (according to every expert in this field) will NOT work for the next generation of students. We have worked for some of the most exclusive private schools in the world (hey they are successful so why change, right??) and we have also worked in some of the most impoverished parts of the world. We have turned around low performing schools (20% graduation) to 99% graduation. We are first and foremost an education company and then an architect. Form follows function is our motto. Once you have learned more about us and truly understand what we do, then maybe we can have a real debate instead of the knee-jerk sound-bites that you have passed off as an expert opinion. If you really want to learn more about all this visit, or our website at I have two masters degrees but I would not challenge a surgeon who is asking for a modern facility by saying, "hello, my father had a very successful operation in his village about 50 years ago so there is no need to modernize the hospital. Don’t you know, it is the doctor and not the facility that makes the difference?" Please. This is the education of Cayman;s children we are talking about. Let us at least agree to come to the table with REAL data rather than make this a "he said she said" kind of thing. By the way, we did a comprehensive assessment of all your government schools and also wrote a master plan for their educational and facilities development. You will be shocked by our findings and hopefully understand the desperate urgency to fix education (and yes, the learning environments as well). You can find our reports at: htpps://

    • Teacher says:

      I think you will find that Cayman International School is less a "cells and bells" model than it may at first appear.  Yes, the four wings of the school house traditional classrooms, but these are joined in pairs by glass-fronted teaching offices, so that flexibility in grouping is easy to plan and supervise.  Students can remain in traditional class groupings, or they can be split into smaller groups or pairs of learners with a direct sightline to the teacher, or, if need be, two classes can be combined into a larger learning cooperative.  In addition, CIS has a large media centre/technology lab encompassing the entire second floor of the administration building, where Mr. Nair’s model of flexible learning spaces is in full effect.  This area can house large groups, small groups, pairs and individuals for a variety of teacher-, peer- and expert-led instruction as well as independent research and study.  The various areas are defined, as in the vision put forward by Mr. Nair, by furnishings and movable shelving as well as built-in dividers.  

      The school’s Music, Science, Art and Technology spaces are all large and flexible in design, and a large Multi-Purpose room of similar size is available for large group teaching and learning as well as parent and community involvement and lessons involving physical movement.

      The ARC is a similar flexible space used for PE, Music, Dance, Drama and any other type of group instruction teachers can dream up.  In addition, the grounds of the school have been designed to inspire and accommodate both learning and an affinity for the outdoor environment.  In addition to the standard playgrounds and playing fields, CIS enjoys large, shaded outdoor courtyards and an amphitheater, and puts them to very good use.   You will see groups of students using the outdoor spaces as "classrooms" frequently.

      As in Mr. Nair’s design, the buildings are low to the ground, just two stories high, so that the indoor environment is connected symbiotically to the outdoor one, and each wing houses a sort of "learning community" made up of students in similar age groupings sharing a common outdoor learning space.

      The ideas are actually very similar, though CIS, being a private school, is smaller in scale.

      My child attends CIS, and I am very happy with the school.  I think the designs put forth by Prakash, while expensive (!), are really very good.  It is unfortunate that the recession has happened now, and I can understand why there is concern about the expense.  It is probably true that there are many elements that could be fixed in our government schools before new buildings are created — especially buildings of this order.  However, that is no reason to denigrate what Mr. Nair and Mr. McLaughlin have imagined.  These buildings can only augment whatever other improvements are made in discipline, attitude, teaching styles etc., and it is no secret that human beings respond to positive, inspiring physical spaces.  Any number of studies in various disciplines and environments will bear that out.

      It would be nice to see Mr. Anglin sit down with Mr. McLaughlin in a civil manner, and, without resort to party politics, find a way to salvage some of the original vision of these schools in a way that makes sense for our current economic climate.  His attitude thus far has only fired division within the community, which can never benefit our students.  

      • Prakash says:

        Thank you! I’m glad you spoke up and appreciate that you have taken the time to understand Alden’s vision that we have tried hard to support. Of course facilities by themselves will not change education in Cayman but they are an important part of the reform process. Even though I’m getting beat up by some in your community, it is good to see that the majority of responses (and the thumbs downs on the negative attacks) favor what we attempted to do and that people are looking for real solutions not more political theater. This subject is too important for it to deteriorate into name-calling. Great to see teachers like you participating in the debate!

  12. Maynard Keynes says:

    If Jim Scott was in charge we would have had them on time on budget. Any news on the moves to the new Government building? The civil service is buzzing with rumors about Statutory Authorities and some depts saying they dont want to go (because of course they would have to give up their luxurious accommodations outside of everyone’s line of vision and suddenly be seen to be ….er………working. Will there be someone – the Governor – the deputy governor who orders them to go? Trust me, this is a developing story.

    • Anonymous says:

      Amen Amen Amen. I wondered if I was the only one hearing the government subsidised statutory authorities dont want to be seen in the new building. If they don’t move, they should either be ordered to move or lose their subsidies. The rumours are Civil Aviation, Maritime Authority, Ministry of Education, Pensions Office, Monetary Authority, Stock Exchange. Any more?

      • Anonymous says:

        It must surely be rumour that these departments aren’t going to the new building. That was the whole point in building it wasn’t it? To save on renting property? I’ll believe this story about them not going there when I see the facts.

        • Anonymous says:

          There is a difference between the GOAB housing govt. depts as opposed to statutory authorities such as CIMA which have to been to be operationally independent from the Govt. There are plenty of depts that rent office space elsewhere which should be housed there: General Registry, Education etc.

    • Anonymous says:

      agreed but the new gov building is late and we don’t know the final cost…..

      • Anonymous says:

        True Anon 21:25 but it’s not very late for such a huge undertaking and the talk around the place in informed circles is that it is pretty much within budget.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Has anyone noticed lately the anti-UDP rethoric has increased significantly on Cayman CrossTalk. It’s like Austin and Gilbert want to be to radio what CNS is to the web. Good luck with that Wendy and Nicky are professionals and know how to put out a good sensational headline and let us go at it. Austin and Gilbert instead of doing that always take the side against the government. Cayman Crosstalk has now become a very biased show and this morning’s show was no different.

    • Anonymous says:

      crosstalk is just a poor excuse for a talkshow full stop.
      e.g on wed we get mclaughlin saying how great his new shools are with no hard questions from the hosts and thurs we anglin saying the opposite with no hard questioning and this cycle goes on and on…..etc

      please get a real debate going by having different views being represented and discussed on the same day……

      don’t even get me started on nonsense of ‘super’ tuesday with ezzard….zzzzzz

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed and I have to say that Crosstalk is going very stale and even though I still listen, I don’t as much as I used to. Same crap every week and constant political bashing by simply taking the side of the politician on the show.. Maybe they should rename it Politics Talk. They spent almost a week complaining about farming when the one person, Gilbert, that could have changed everything when he was the minister is sitting there bad mouthing the current government for not doing more. Further having to listen to Ezzard every Tuesday and Alden every Wednesday is boring and gets old real fast. Tired of the has been politicians and their soap boxes.

      Randy, be careful some other talk show doesn’t spring up and swallow up Crosstalk. The best show they have done this year was the one with Mr. Norman Bodden and Mr. Dick Arch.

      It’s a new year, be a little creative and do something fresh with the show.  I ‘m tired of hearing all the political bashing and rhetoric and please no more Nair..By the way is he the same one that gets the hair off my legs!

  14. GT Ninja says:

     All this talk about what Caymanians are "used to" is really a load of nonsensical political smoke and mirrors to distract from the truth and to spur on the ignorant.

    According to the Minister, Caymanians won’t function well when introduced to something "new aged".


    Caymanians were used to getting around in by horse/donkey & cart.. when the "new age" car came… we learned to drive.

    Caymanians… were used to sleeping on plantain trash beds… when the "new age" pillow-top mattress came to the island…we bought a brand new comforter set and slept like logs.

    Caymanians… used to use wattle and daub to build their 500sq. ft. houses… when cement blocks and seamless roofing came to the island… we built 3000sq ft homes with a garage to hold two "new age" cars.

    Don’t tell me Caymanians and their children can embrace progress or "new age" methods.

    The only thing I can’t figure out is…

    Why do Caymanians keep voting for the same OLD BACKWARD oppressive politicians.

    Maybe if we had a better educational system we would be smarter voters or maybe even petter parents to raise more well behaved kids who have critical thinking.


    • Anonymous says:

      “According to the Minister, Caymanians won’t function well when introduced to something “new aged”.

      This nonsense comming from a government minister, he sounds like an expat!

  15. Anonymous says:

    why not find out what country has the best system and try and copy that?
    you can find any expert to say whatever you want to hear…all the better when they are personally profiting from what they are peddling…..

    • Prakash says:

      And how exactly do you "copy that"? You would still have to pay a local architect and you would have to pay a royalty to the person whose ideas you are copying. But why would you copy something — wouldn’t you want to customize the design to the unique Cayman context? That is exactly what was done here (I know because I’m the guy who’s featured in this article). Finland and Canada may have some great schools but do you think they would work in the Cayman climate and in Cayman’s cultural context? Some statements that need correcting:  This expert did NOT say "whatever you wanted to hear" — If I had said to build a traditional school then we would not be having this discussion would we? Also, we are not "peddling" anything. We don’t sell auto-parts or jewelry. We are professionals offering a professional service to help develop the best schools in the world — not sure why you would resent paying for that service by characterizing it as "personally profiting". In that sense every single professional who gets paid is personally profiting and so there must be something wrong with that whole system. Maybe you are suggesting that all professionals should simply offer their services for free?

      • Anonymous says:

        you may well be right…but it would be great to hear it from independent sources…not just the politician who is desperatrly trying to cover his tracks or the architecht who is responsible for the design……..

  16. Anonymous says:

    Imagine what would happen to a company if every 4 years their leadership would be completely overhauled and new procedures and processes would be rammed down the employees throat. Does anyone think that this company would be in business for very long?

    This is exactly what is happening to this country. Every 4 years another spark plug is coming along and instead of building on what has been done before, they spend two years of terring down the little that has been accomplished before they come along because “they don’t like it or don’t agree” and spend then another two years doing………….god knows what!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Although this is an interesting distraction, it in no way addresses the root causes of the education "catastrophe" that currently exists in Cayman. This is like building a new Government building and hoping that all government policies will suddently become reasonable and in everyone’s best interests. Unfortunately, the root causes are not easily dealt with and run deep in Cayman society. These will not be fixed by redesigning any building, changing which party is in power, or re-shuffling ministers. Caymanians have the power to demand more of their leaders and at some point in time, hopefully, the reasonable, intelligent and educated in Cayman will get past their fear (and/or timidity) and do what needs to be done.

  18. relinquist says:

    What a doomsday message about our kids! XXX Rolston Anglin is fixing and patching the work that was left undone in 2008 by the PPM when the country became broke because of their management! The DESIGNER CAN COMPLAIN ALL HE WANTS FOR THE SAKE OF HIS RESUME! But wake up! We can’t satisfy him, because we are BROKE!!! Hence, Rolston and the UDP, being affordable as much as they can, are doing a fine job.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t think we are broke. The politicans still spend money like it is growing on the coconut trees. I am starting to wonder if this whole “broke” business is just a scare tactic to keep everyone down. How do we know what the true picture is? Nobody has been able to produce proper accounts. Who can we trust and rely on?

      Nuff said!

      • Boston Tea Party says:

        Cayman is broke. The Cohen wonder loan did not materialise. Who’d have thought?

  19. Michel Lemay says:

    You know what is wrong here, we are talking about OUR children and grand children. Why the POLITICS games again. If let’s say I worked as a manager for 10 years for a firm. During the years that I have worked, I tried my best not only to be productive to to educate my staff (think children) by giving them the best courses available, bring in experts on the suject and write the BOOK as to why these things sould be done. Now if the new manager choses to do it his or her own way isn’t there a big waste of time ,money, not to mention confusion to the teachers already involved. EASY SOLUTION : Past Education minister (Mr. Alden) MEETS new Education minister (Mr. Rolston) and a few involved in the past and the few involved now and make the best of it all FOR OUR CHILDREN of the future. This will problably not affect our own children but maybe our own grandchildren and keep the Politikers out of it. That’s all no more no less. Agree to disagree if you have too and put on your thinking caps.

    • anonymous says:

      That would make very good sense if the success of the people (think children) was the most important thing.  But the truth is these people we choose are only concerned abut the success of their party (think themselves).

  20. Joe Mamas says:

    O K lets pretent Cayman has nice school buildings. And it has quality teachers.  Think thats enough?  How about parents and leaders that guide youth towards higher education?  How about a government system that rewards higher education and skill instead of exactly the opposite?  Yea.  Maybe in 20 years.  In the mean time good idea to put all the Governments joined skill and money into just trying to build some buildings. Its been real educational watching them "try".

    Just a suggestion:  Just once try and get someone who already has the education, skill, experiance, and proven record for getting the job done to actually do a job and let them do it their way on Cayman.  Just once.

    Quote Bullet Insanity is doing the same thing in the same way and expecting a different outcome.
    Quote Bullet Insanity is doing the same thing in the same way and expecting a different outcome.

    Insanity is doing the same thing in the same way and expecting different results: Chinese Proverb

    Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school.: Albert Einstin

  21. Anonymous says:

    First things first – what works for one child does not work for another. So although this may be”the new way” of teaching (incidentally, teaching is teaching is teaching), this does not necessisarily mean that this is going to work for OUR students. Has this person ever met students from Cayman? They are quite different from students elsewhere!!!

    If the students are accustomed to one type of learning environment and then that environment is changed drastically, there is no telling what kinds of mayhem will occur. Remember the meaning and importance of testing on pilot groups, similar to drug trials, is that we should save money by trying it out on a sample group first.

    Nothing was wrong with 1950’s teaching. The material is still the same today, just enhanced and coloured with various terms to make us think that is it somehow different.

    • Anonymous says:

      “Has this person ever met students from Cayman? They are quite different from students elsewhere!!” – Why?

      ‘If the students are accustomed to one type of learning environment and then that environment is changed drastically, there is no telling what kinds of mayhem will occur.’ – Why?

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow! So if I understand what you’re say, information since the 1950’s hasn’t changed (61yrs)? If that’s the case then I guess it’s good to allow our kids to smoke cigarettes, since in the 50’s doctors said it was good. Also, we can probably go back to calling Pluto the 9th planet. And you should probably not use a personal computer to write quite outlandish comments on a website since, as you said before there’s nothing wrong with 1950’s knowledge, and that would mean we don’t have personal computers or the internet.

    • Anonymous says:

      I do not believe this post – it is so juvenile…. of course Mr Nair met Cayman students in most schools and he has had several of his team here and meeting and working with students from every single Govt school, including Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.

      He even wrote a really detailed report for every school and their preparedness for future learning I believe.

      As for Cayman kids being different – garbage – Mr Nair has worked in every continent in the world, he has been recognised as one of the best school planners in the world – why does someone from West Bay think that they know better..?  Why are kids in Cayman unique and so different from every other teenager in the world – nonsense – they are NOT!

      This Ministry of Education clearly have no idea what they re doing!



    • Bad Apple says:

       Seriously? I’m sorry but the material is no where near the same as the 50’s! Have you ever heard of a "revised version" of text books? They are called that because correction/changes have been made to them to update them or correct errors/bias made in the past. Teaching today is a totally different playing field (and thank God for that). Take the internet for example. We are no long confined to taking our professors’ word as creed. We are now able to RESEARCH on the internet. Also, in the 50’s there were totally unaware of learning disabilities and behavioural disorders. If a child wasn’t learning at the same pace as the rest of the class or "wouldn’t" pay attention, then parents and teachers just dismissed the child as being a "bad apple" that would never learn. Today we are aware that these bad apples aren’t actually bad at all, they just learn differently therefore need to taught differently. It’s 2011, please do not make the mistake and think that we are learning in the same manor as in the 50’s. 
      I spent my entire school career in Grand Cayman, so speaking from experience 1. I wanted to barf every single time I saw an empty white wall, 2. I couldn’t stand hearing the lectures going on in the class room next to mine and 3. There was not one thing that made me want to go to school more than having a good teacher that knew how I thought and was willing to teach me the way that was best for me (these types of teachers were of course, EXTREMELY RARE)! 
      All I’m trying to say is that the human brain is far too complex to think, for even a second, that "teaching is teaching is teaching".

    • Anonymous says:

      What a pile of foolishness. “OUR students are quite different from others around the world”. This is exactly the problem why OUR students can’t cope when let loose in the rest of the world because somebody like you has filled their head with such nonsense. Do you really think any university on this planet gives two hoots whether OUR students are different or not. They better learn to fit in quick or they are going to be weeded out.

    • Prakash says:

       "This Person" is me and yes, I have met the students from Cayman. In fact my staff and I visited each and every government school in Cayman and did a very detailed education and facilities assessment. Additionally, we developed a detailed master plan that focused more on the educational improvements and teacher training that are needed in Cayman more than on the architecture. People may not know this but we are an Education Company as much as an Architect. Look at the resumes on our site at and you’ll see some of the top educators in the world who work with us. What makes you an "expert" to say all the stuff you are saying. At least do a Google search to find out what educators are doing today and what the top researchers in the world are saying about 21st Century skills. By the way, you should also feel free to download the reports we did for Cayman schools at: Hopefully you will realize that we came to our conclusions after thoroughly studying the Cayman context and meeting hundreds of Caymanstudents, teachers parents and community residents. 

      • Joe Mamas says:

        Mr. Prakash, Hopefully you can see by the comments and thumbs up/down that the problem is not the buildings but the many people in Cayman that are not up to the modern day standards. And yes a great deal of them (work?) for the Government. Not your fault that you have done your job correctly but still failed to satisfy. You have only to look to the company that started to build the schools and see where they are now. (Soon to be in court) Hopefully you will realize that dealing with the Caymanian Government is not dealing with educated people. Many proffessionals and businesses have already left Cayman for the same reason myself included.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I listen to this guy on Rooster this morning and though it was nuts. Open design for the 21st century. What planet is this guy from. Distractions are good, open designs for the future.

    It shocked me that people didn’t confront this foolishness. Children do not need distractions. Closed classrooms are not prisons. This new age garbage is just that. Small class size with closed rooms and good teachers supported by the administration is what Cayman needs.

    The egocentric vision presented with the exotic design is a waste of money. A simplified design with a focus on teachers and teaching is much more important than the building.

    What is it that Cayman needs to always spend so much money on these mega projects for a little country of 50,000? It is ego.

    • Anonymous says:

      I completely disagree with the small classroom concept. It is not reality, it is not the real world and it therefore doesn’t prepare the kids for what is coming their way. If you go to university you are likely going to attend a few classes with more than 200 people so you better had gotten used to some distraction. The majority of businesses nowadays adopted an open floor plan concept so you better had learned to be able to concentrate with all sort of noise around you.

      I am not saying that the designer is 100% right, but I am tired of hearing about the small class room concept. Children need to learn to cope, get along and get used to not have someone constantly hold their hand and focus on them along the way. It simply is not reality.

      • Anonymous says:

        There is a HUGE difference between a professional working in an open environment or a college age student taking a class with a large enrollment in university. BTW I went to college and never had a class with more than 30 students. It is called private college and for your information they are very highly sought after and produce a very high level of education.

        But I digressall the previous examples mentioned by you are very much different from a child focusing on the lesson in the midst of distractions. What confuses you about this? Children have a more difficult time dealing with extended periods requiring attention span and distractions.

        • Anonymous says:

          What is the HUGE difference? Just because you are now 25 years old and work in an open floor plan you can all of the sudden concentrate and block out background noise? Is it an automatic switch that was flipped because you are 25 or do you think it is a skill you have acquired and practiced over time?

          Not everyone can afford private college that has "small classroom based teachings".  Students can learn with all kind of distractions around them. Ever noticed how they can learn and study at home with the TV running in the background or while listening to music?

          • Anonymous says:

            What I cannot fathom is that you see no difference between the maturity of and adult and that of a child.

            Perhaps we should allow children of 10 to vote or to drive a car given your insanity it would make sense.

            A child cannot focus for extended times and does not have the maturity to ignore distractions when necessary.

            I am done with you Alden.

            • Teacher says:

              The "maturity of the adult?"   That is funny!

              I am a teacher who has worked not only in schools from Kindergarten to A Level, but also in several office environments unrelated to education.  While it may be true that very young children are developmentally unprepared to focus on a single speaker or stimulation for long periods of time, they are perfectly capable of focusing on a chosen task with background noise and distraction present.  Have you ever seen a five-year-old boy play with Lego in a noisy preschool?  It’s like everyone else has disappeared.  Older students and adults are actually very similar in their ability to concentrate — for both, it is the social distraction that causes a problem.  Students whispering in class, adults taking frequent trips to the water cooler to chat to colleagues…it is one and the same.  One of the points of Mr. Nair’s design is to incorporate this natural social inclination into the learning process itself — to channel it constructively so that its natural function assists, rather than hinders, learning.  That is exactly what successful, modern corporations do when they assign tasks to groups rather than individuals.  The social instinct means collaboration is focussed on a task, and the success of this has as much to do with physical space as with (learned) discipline and teaching practices.  

              Myhusband works in the finance industry and has constant problems with his staff stopping by one another’s offices and cubicles to chat.  I myself have done the same thing when working in an enclosed office for long periods of time. Human beings crave social contact, and they will get it one way or another.  Mr. Nair at least has the foresight to turn this instinct into a strength, rather than a weakness.  

              I grant you that Mr. Nair’s model is just one of many.  Mr. Legge, in another post on this website, has described another.  Mr. Nair’s model has the obvious advantage of flexibility, though, which means that his spaces can be configured in any number of ways, to suit any situation or type of learner, while Mr. Legge’s model addresses a more limited number of learning styles.  

              One last point — the poster above is not suggesting that children automatically have the same ability to concentrate; rather, he is saying that an adult’s ability to focus despite distractions is learned over time.  

              I do believe that quiet time spent studying is valuable and that independent learning is an important part of schooling.  However, I think that Mr. Nair’s ideas have a good deal of merit — and they do not preclude traditional classroom learning where it is appropriate.  

  23. Anonymous says:

    I was convinced until this day that education system was based on the responsibilities of a group of individuals with strong knowledge of pedagogy, psychology and so on agreeing on an educational program satisfying all accepted international criteria and relied to qualified educators, teachers whose responsibilities are to educate our children with the best of their knowledge, experience, love and passion.

    I was soooo wrong. The education system rely on  building design! So the best for our children education isnow dictated by an architect with an ego as large as his schools!




    • Anonymous says:

       Nonsense – the pedagogy drives the design – not the other way round… please do listen carefully….

  24. Anonymous says:

    I cannot comprehend how we can argue about costs for education when all of this will be a benefit to our youth in Cayman. Do we want the next generation to be as stupid as the ones who lead us now? I would much rather the money be spent on getting first class facilities for our educational building than some of the other areas I hear it being spent on. Come on people, get behind the school projects as it dfoesn’t matter which governement gets the credit for it. As long as it gets done so our youth can have the best education that cayman can offer that is what really counts.

  25. pmilburn says:

    This is so typical of all  our govt’s past and present in the undoing of the previous plan(s).We go to all this expence only to have the next Minister not like what he sees and takes it all apart again.If this man is one of the worlds leading school designers/builders then accept his word and get on with it.To undo what is already in place is only a slap in the face to our kids who need these facilities in order to move on in life.So what if they are ultra modern we cannot continue to live in the past and continue to turn out sub-standard educated kids.Some would say that the building has nothing to do with their learning process but I dis-agree.Remember years back when many of our schools did not have mosquito screeens in the windows and doors?.Think this did not have an effect on their studying?Think again.In my unexpert opinion the more comfortable the classrooms then (in general)the better the student(s)will be.This is not the 1950’s Mr.Minister.Students need to be prepared for the "new"age that they will be facing when they leave school.Did your trips to Moscow and Finland not show any of this to you?

    • Anonymous says:

      Cayman wants to be a world leader – you use one of the best school designers in the world and think because you come from West Bay or are a senior civil servant from the Cayman Brac that you know better.  THis is exactly why Cayman is in the mess it is and it will contiue to miss the boat and WILL be left behind.  the world is moving on, Cayman is moving backwards regarding education!

  26. Anonymous says:

    You employ an expert, take his advise for design, half construct the building and then change the philosophy without even trying it out. Surely partitions could have been added afterwards if the model failed.
    Don’t mix this up with the cost saving exercise this is a debate regarding the method of teaching.
    Cayman has opted now for the traditional route.

  27. Macman says:

    It is obvious a well educated electorate will think for themselves. The UDP do not want a well educated electorate who think beyound washing machines, refrigerators or land fill!

  28. anonymous says:

    I find this hilarious but totally understandable given the current PPM leadership status. I can see the movie now – “The rebirth of a leader-Alden the new action man”!

    Even if the concept will work in Cayman, there still is no reason to have designed these schools in this manner. And it is also unacceptable to have spent $6M on architectural fees in Chigaco. It is also unbelievable that we would spend CI$120M on two schools without any idea where the money was coming from. It was MADNESS then and it is STILL MADNESS now.

    No amount of “jet setting” architects or talk show hosting can change my mind on that and the last polls proved this when they rejected PPM. Even the independent candidates spoke out on this travesty.

  29. Anonymous says:

     All Architects try to build monuments to themselves and only a few are practical.  Judging by the photo this architect does not seem to have the years of experience behind him that his resume states and in any event there are architects in the Cayman Islands with substantial experience and with contacts with even more experience who could have put these projects together without the grandiose ideas being imported at enormous cost from overseas.  Another example of how business has not been generated locally and it has cost us.  Whether you are here to explain yourself is neither here nor there.  The simple fact remains that this is not politics or politicians, this is common sense.  I really do not care how many schools you have designed or indeed how wonderful you are at looking into the future for Caymanian children.  This is basic economics.  As noted in another post the Prep School has just built a three storey 24,000 SF structure which looks perfectly acceptable from the outside.  Inside it accommodates just as many kids as there are in the outer districts, and more, in hi tech, fully kitted out modern labs and IT rooms.  A credit to anyone and enjoyed by the students who will all learn just as well and three years ahead of everyone else.  This was built of CI$ 5 million including equipment.  Dear Mr Architect for the monument you have created at a cost of tens of millions of dollars, just to satisfy your ego, twenty of these blocks could have been built to satisfy children’s education for generations to come.  I wonder whether your awards take economics and common sense into account.  In this case your ego has put this country into serious debt and I hope you remember this when you collect your silver salver.

    • Anonymous says:

       I am just amazed at how people want to demonstrate their total ignorance of what they are talking about…..

      Nair has decades of experience, to go by a photo to judge experience demonstrates the total stupidity,,,,,,,,

      THe Chicago architects are recognised as leading school designers – put the two together and Cayman should lead the world…. but of course, we know better in Cayman – this is what makes us all look so stupid….

      • Anonymous says:

         What makes us look stupid is spending 150 million on a building and $0.00 on the education in terms of human resources to _TEACH_ <—-


        We got them lining up from all over world to use up that stupidity. 

    • Prakash says:

      Please grow up.  Your first sentence about all architects building monuments etc. where do you get your "research" or are you just passing off your own personal opinion as if it has some higher validity?? I know that our firm definitely does not fit the profile you have painted. For us, the architecture is less important than the education. By the way, we were NOT the architects for the Cayman High Schools — we merely proposed the initial concepts that another architect then developed.  Judging by the photo! Hey thanks for the back-handed compliment. I’m 55 years old and have worked in education for 26 years! I have personally been involved in the design of well over 100 new schools and over 500 school renovations — totaling about $10 billion worth of projects. The firm that I co-founded in 2003 (FNI) has won every major award in our industry and we have done work in 32 countries. I’m sorry that these qualifications are inadequate in your eyes. So now you are having a discussion with me about school design and claiming that you are the expert with so much "common sense" — hey maybe you should put that on your resume and see how many schools they let you design. "which looks perfectly acceptable from the outside" — wish I could get people to hire me using that line. So now it is my ego that has put this country into serious debt! And the financial crisis that almost brought down the entire world economic system is just a side-story to my ego!! If you had wanted to have a serious discussion about education and what these schools that may be around for the next 50 — to 100 years are worth I would have happily done that but all you learned from 4 hours of in-depth discussion on the radio today was this nonsense. If you cared about the students who attend schools in Cayman, you would have taken at least a few minutes to educate yourself about where education is headed and why the design we proposed would have given Cayman kids a huge competitive advantage but this kind of juvenile attack speaks volumes about your priorities and your motives. The good thing is that a majority of the citizens of Cayman — many who have commented on this article seem to have "got" it — just see the thumbs up and thumbs down numbers. Hopefully they will take action to complete the work that we started — to build Cayman’seducation system so that it is among the best in the world. On the Rooster Crosstalk show today we had suggested two websites for those interested in learning more. One is and the other is our website which is Check out the videos, projects and related publications. 

      • Anonymous says:

         Mr. Prakash,

        It’s best to ignore posters like Wed, 02/02/2011 – 09:56.  Some people really don’t have much common sense.

        Thank you for what you have done for our children.  I hope that the schools will be finished.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Well, it is nice to be able to hear the other side and it makes sense. The environment has changed so much and schools need to adapt accordingly. When kids move on to college and university abroad, they have to be able to adapt to the latest technology and environment otherwise they will likely struggle quite a bit.

    The only link that is missing here is the fact that at the end, the class stands and falls with the teacher. If the teacher isn’t able to motivate the children at school (yes, parents have to do it at home also). However, if the teachers are excited, positive and stimiulated based on their environment, chances are that this will translate to the kids.

    • Sorry I strongly disagree says:

       Sorry, I STRONGLY disagree.  

      If Cayman Prep can do a great job of educating for a $5 million dollar renovation and Cayman International School’s WORLD CLASS DESIGN and huge overwhelming success at Camana Bay was built for under $25 million, then it is clear that great schools with great designs can be built without great expense, period.

      Also, the priorities of the politicians are all screwed up.  Bricks not books??? ( this is not one party or the other, this is DAMAGE from over a decade of greedy political cronyism)  Cayman has one of the highest illiteracy rates in the world!  Probably the very  worse for a developed country.  Over 50% Our school leavers *you cannot call then graduates* have an 8th grade reading level.  I am being generous on the statistic, but no one dares print the truth (FOI at stats office or Dept of Education CNS?)

      Our own government did not even fund a new  literacy program in 2010. This had to come from a private foundation for the schools while our "leaders" give millions of dollars in building contracts to their buddies.  The parents have to pay for public supplies, sports, after school classes…..where’s our govt dollars?  Voters, wake up!

      Get a NEW education administration and decent teachers. (fire the bums that have left this mess get this far without accountability)  Make learning the goal for a world class society, not pretty expensive buildings.


      • Young.KY.Female says:

         Do you realize the number of students that attend these schools? They don’t compare in population and therefore size.

        • Anonymous says:

           Totally agree  – this post has NO idea what they are talking about

      • Anonymous says:

         Again a post not fully aeware of the facts – the National Hurricane Committee insisted that the new schools had to withstand Cat 5 hurricanes and house hundreds of people, with catering, bathrooms, etc etc and needing specific heights above sea level, special rated glass, roofs, walls  etc etc that added millions – these are for the whole island – not just for those that can afford private schools – the other priavte schools did not have to do that.  It’s like comparing a Cat Boat and an all singing dancing design

        If the Hurricane committee and others set ridiculous tight limits for us Caymanians – then every school should  but they won’t because they can’t make them.

        If you compare then then at least use the facts

  31. Anonymous says:

    I couldn’t agree more with Nair.  Cayman is a very institutionalized place and many seem opposed to positive change, instead remaining rooted in the past. Our schools are failing our future generations miserably, and desperately need to be brought up to the present day.  Anglin needs to stop this nonsense and start working with Nair for the betterment of the country and its people.  We will never see an end to the expat/cayman divide if attitudes like this, particularly within the Government, are allowed to continue.

  32. Return Of the Mac says:

    This Government was an experiment, it failed.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Yeah…. why build schools like the old days when we can build some with glass ceilings in Cayman!?.   We all know old building models like Harvard and Yale, Cambridge or Oxford are completely inadequate!

    We need futuristic buildings because that ultimately facilitates learning, not teachers or curriculum.

    I always love it when the "experts" come up with these new ways.  Because building these "new" models had nothing to do with the fat paycheck they received for building them _of course_.

    I’ll go out a limb here, but maybe building a modest building, and taking half of what they spend on the "guarranteed-to-improved-learning-automatically-and-non-experimental structures", and rather… spending it on _teachers_ and _improved curriculum_ perhaps should have also been considered?



    • Anonymous says:

      “…and rather… spending it on _teachers_ and _improved curriculum_ perhaps should have also been considered?”

      That is exactly what the plan for the new schools was.

      Now we will go backwards…again, under the UDP government.

    • Anonymous says:

      That requires teachers who can actually teach!

    • Books not Bricks says:

       Here, here!  How about recruited the BEST teachers in the world and offering them GREAT pay and status (yes,  *gasp I said it!) if they stayand prove themselves for seven years?  

      Gee, what would happen???  Maybe five hundred people would take this offer.  Let’s see that would be less than ONE PERCENT of our population would be dedicated long term teachers involved in a wonderful community.

      Please let a nice dedicated teacher live next to me, go to my church, join my community group.  Now, this is what I call KEY EMPLOYEE.

       This tiny drop in the bucket would offer a long term solution to aging teachers who (sadly) are either not up to world class training methods, or are still here and just exhausted after years of NO support from the bloated administration.

      I do not think our teachers are to blame, they had to live with the governments and poor administration for decades!  

      However, we will never fix our problems with bricks….we need new blood and the money behind a decent curriculum with a long term plan and measurable results.  No perform = no pay.

  34. Anonymous says:

    So he waits until two years after Alden gets kicked out of office to defend his design..Sounds fishy to me..Alden could have had him spinning this yarn during the PPM campaign leading up to the General Elections.

    Not saying that he may not have some substance, just saying whatever he is saying to us now should have been said prior to the  elections as it could have made a big difference.