Minister and junior support existing education plan

| 08/07/2013

IMG-20130708-00654 (1) (282x300).jpg(CNS): Although Alden McLaughlin, who began a massive overhaul of education in 2005, is now premier, his new education minister and her junior appear to be sticking with the plan created by his successor. Before McLaughlin was booted out of his education job following the 2009 election defeat for the PPM, a new education law was passed. However, the regulations were never implemented. and Rolston Anglin, who took the reins of education in 2009, followed a different path, which resulted in the national education plan a few months before the former cabinet minister lost his West Bay seat.

During a recent visit with government school principals and the back-bench coalition MLA and councillor in the education ministry, Winston Connolly made it clear that he and his boss, Tara Rivers, the coalition cabinet member, were in support of the Strategic Plan for Education created by Anglin, the former UDP minister and then PDA member. 

Connolly said the ministry team was well advanced in an exercise to identify and fill any gaps in the action plans that had been identified by the new government.

“The good news is that there are a lot of synergies,” he said, adding that special education needs (SEN), was also a key area of focus for the minister and government.

Connolly offered his support for the Principal’s Consultative Council as a mechanism for principals to be involved in advice and decision-makingwithin the education system, and to support networking and their professional development. He also told the school heads that Rivers was committed to visiting each school in the new school year. 

However, Rivers has a major hurdle to cross before September as she will be in court next week defending her election to office, having been challenged by the spouse of the UDP candidate Velma Hewitt, who came in fifth in the West bay race just outside the four seats. Rivers is been challenged on the grounds that she did not meet the residency requirements for candidates and because she possesses a current US passport.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank goodness the British refused Alden's request for more cash. I mean, it's not as if they weren't fully aware of his remarkedly self-serving antics as education minister, and must have fully anticipated the request.  It's a different ball game this time round – no more vanity projects, just the need for sound governance and service, no self-glorification and reputation building. Alden, please do our children a favour and keep as far away from educational matters as possible!

  2. Anonymous says:

    One thing that needs to be changed is to abolish the Further Education and put Year 12 back in the high schools.  The Further Ed. school should be converted to a Technical Vocation School as it seems like most of the children who attend the Further Edu. spend half their time out of school.  I hope the new Minister willl look into this real soon as too many of our children are being lost in the system.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Glad to see that common sense has prevailed and that they are using the plan put in place by the last government. That education plan put in place by PPM some years ago was a recipe for disaster; Good on Tara and and Winston!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    When the FCO prevents the PPM from borrowing funds what other choice did they have? Our country cannot afford another $100m school or more vanity projects like the last time. Focus on quality teachers not buildings

  5. Anonymous says:

    I applaud Rivers and Connolly for having the good sense to examine the system put in place by the former Minister and not attempting to change it just for the sake of change, as is often the case with newly appointed administrations. I also wish Minister Rivers every good luck in her upcoming court battle and trust that she will be victorious.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Where in the action plan is the commitment of the Cayman Islands' Government to comply with its human rights obligations and provide free primary and secondary education to all resident children regardless of their nationality?

    • Anonymous says:

      This issue is a very serious one which if left alone will have a very divisive impact on young people growing up in these islands. As this current plan stands ( yes there are good aspects to it) the view that Caymanians get one educational process ‘just for them’ and ALL other children who grow up here get another is very dangerous. It has human rights implications as well as it blocks the natural process of learning together and accepting each other as equals etc.
      It is mystifying to note that the learned team at the Minstry of Education has missed this point……..or have they? Perhaps the Chief Officer should send her children to the public school too as only Caymanns can go there. Or, is there something missing that she wants her children to have access to? She is perfectly right to send them to a non public school where they will interact with a diverse range of children, all resident here expanding their perspective as to what t mens to be a young Caymanian In the ever changing global community.
      Beyond that, her children learn to get along with others from other places who live here and develop a wider appreciation for many things. Why should this only be available to a few Caymanian children?
      Are we aware of the US and THEM mentality we are creating?
      This is a very serious issue, the impacts of which gets played out in a divided society of the future where sadly the bulk of the Caymanan children are not as equipped as their non Caymanian peers to cope with every day issues of diversity, race, class and being tolerant and open minded.
      Is this what we want? Keep our people back? Lets not get blinded by the success stories from the public school system. These will happen no matter what, Nature just is that way. I speak for the 95% who are not up for the outstanding awards. They deserve the best chance of feeling equal among many in their own land.

    • Anonymous says:

      I'm not sure why so many people seem to believe the Constitution puts this "obligation" on CIG. To quote section 10(2) of the Bill of Rights: "Government shall seek reasonably to achieve the progressive realisation, within available resources, of providing every child with primary and secondary education which shall, subject to subsection (3), be free."

      That's legal gobbledygook for "We will try to educate all children in public schools for free if we have the money, staff, space and other resources. But that's never going to happen."

      Or, as the Constitutional Review Secretariat put it in their Explanatory Guide: "This right would obligate government to make a concerted effort to provide free primary and secondary education in the future, within its future economic means. This right does not automatically guarantee free primary and secondary education once the Bill of Rights comes into force."


      • Anonymous says:

        Because the local legislation is trumped by the ECHR which guarantees these rights. And, more importantly, the Constitution will be read so as to be compatible with the ECHR and therefore 10(2) can and should be purposively construed to guarantee Article 2 of Protocol 1 rights.

      • Anonymous says:

        Simple: because it does. The point is that you can longer discriminate in favour of Caymanian school children with respect to free schooling. Either free schooling is provided to all resident school children or all resident school children have to pay a fee, however small. What it most assuredly does not mean, as you seem to believe, is that you can continue to discriminate until you have some more resources to provide free education to non-Caymanian school children.  

        • Anonymous says:

          Not right.  The education has to be free to all.  That is the duty.  Payment is not an option.  But while fees are being charge on a discriminatory basis CIG is in breach of Arts. 2/1 and 14.

  7. Anonymous says:

    What else could they do.  That is one thign Aglin did that was right.  What they need to do is look for ways to get ppl employed.  PPL are hurting and need assistance.