Anglin releases education strategic plan
The Ministry of Education has restructured secondary education to create high schools in Grand Cayman for students of Years 7-11, improved special needs support and provide new services for the most vulnerable younger students.
These were among changes announced recently as part of the Cayman Islands Strategic Plan for Education 2012- 2017.
Deputy Premier and Minister of Education Hon Rolston Anglin said that he organised his plan under six goals that will become the actions plans.
The goals are: to strengthen leadership and build national capacity; build a world-class early childhood care and education system; secure high standards and improve student progress and achievement; build safer school communities and promote inclusion; enhance skills for learning, life and work and engage parents as partners in their children’s learning.
Speaking during the plan’s launch on 7 February at George Town Primary School’s new library, Mr Anglin said that the new strategic plan would move the country’s education from good to great.
He said that the launch represents a key turning point for education.
“If we do not plan, we are not going to get to where I believe we plan to go.
He noted that the plan would outlive his minority government because it represents a set of strategic objectives and values.
“I do believe that educators, elected leaders and civil servants can buy into this because it has gone through such a broad consensus. This is not a plan we devised in the ministry with a small group of people, who came to the country and said, here it is, here is where we ought to be and here is how we ought to get there,” he stated.
He said that the project started from scratch in 2009, first by visiting every school, and listening to teachers, attending numerous sessions between parents and students and interacting with Parent Teachers Associations.
As a result, the ministry laid a foundation in 2011 with the start of the Education Stabilisation Plan.
“Stabilisation did not mean stagnation, but a foundation in which we were to build our strategic plan, and today we have a culmination of three years of very hard work,” he said.
I have ensured that there are clear professional standards for teachers, key national policies, explicit academic requirements for graduation and robust interventions to improve student performance in literacy and mathematics,” he said.
The Ministry of Education has also established a successful behaviour and education support team (BEST) programme to build a multi-agency partnership approach to support the most vulnerable children.
“Our extended after-school programme, supported by the Ministry of Health, Enviroment, Youth, Sports and Culture as well as private sector partners, has benefited almost 1,000 children in our primary and secondary schools, and keeps young productive activities until their parents return from work each day,” said the Minister.
In the area of Special Education Needs (SEN), the ministry has introduced a music therapy programme, provided new autism support for students with significant emotional and behaviourl challenges at primary and secondary level, and established a new SEN transition class for year 1 students, enabling many of them to transition back to mainstream classes.
The minister acknowledged that education is an expensive venture and facilities had to be constructed.
Although facilities are not the end all, when they come your way you know you have to invest. This investment in George Town was one of our four key priorities, because it was clear when we visited the school that facilities were getting in the way of effective teaching,” he said.
Improvements to facilities also included continued construction of the new high schools and expansions at several primary schools. Among these were a new hall at East End Primary School, two new classrooms at Layman E. Scott Senior High School, three new classroom blocks at George Town Primary, Bodden Town Primary and Savannah Primary Schools and a classroom block at Sir John A Cumber Primary School.
Centonya Cacho, manager in the Initial Teacher Training department of the ministry, said that the future of the plan is to have achievable goals.
“We need to have measurable targets and indicators that will tell us that every landmark we have met will be effective and attainable. We are dedicating the resources necessary to implement the plan and we are going to prioritise cost saround the six priority goals.
“We have applied timelines to ensure that we achieve our goals over the five-year period. These action plans form the basis from which I and my colleagues will work,” she stated.
Also present at the launch were Chief Officer in the Ministry of Education Mary Rodrigues, Deputy Governor Hon Franz Manderson, Chief Education Officer Shirley Wahler and UCCI President Roy Bodden.