The New Cayman Islands curriculum was officially handed over to the Hon Minister of Education, Alden McLaughlin on 31 January, setting the stage for the future of the Island’s education system.
The formal handover marked the completion of Strategy two of the National Consensus on the Future of Education document, which concerned conducting a national curriculum review and producing a document suited to the needs of a 21st century education system.
‘The new curriculum is tailored specifically for the future economic and social needs of the Cayman Islands and is designed to ensure that regardless of level of ability, individual skills and aptitudes are maximized so that every young person is able to leave the education system qualified to be a useful and productive member of the workforce and consequently, to their society,’ said Minister McLaughlin.
‘This is a tangible demonstration that we are moving forward in the right direction towards providing the best education system possible for our young people, and I wholeheartedly congratulate and commend the dedication and professionalism of the educators and members of the community who contributed to the development of this significant piece of work.’
The call for an entirely new national curriculum came from educators and other stakeholders in education at the Islands first ever National Education Conference back in 2005, when Minister McLaughlin brought together more than 600 individuals to evaluate the existing education system and identify strategies for improvement.
Shortly thereafter, a steering committee headed by Helena McVeigh and comprising 15 representatives of pre-schools, public and private primary and secondary high schools, the education department, the Schools’ Inspectorate, UCCI and the Chamber of Commerce was convened to oversee and guide the developmental process through to completion.
‘The new curriculum strongly reflects the culture and heritage of the Cayman Islands, and also has a clear international perspective,’ said Mrs. McVeigh.
‘In terms of quality, it matches the best in the world, yet it is completely student-centered, so that every child can be fully and actively involved in their own learning.’
She said that instead of narrowly focusing on the content of what is taught, the new curriculum places much greater emphasis on actual student skills and abilities.
Assessments and evaluations have also been revised so that what a student actually learns and achieves can be gauged more effectively.
‘This will not only provide parents and teachers with a truer reflection of how each student is progressing, but allows for areas of weakness to be pinpointed and strengthened,’ she said.
The development of the new national curriculum has been a collaborative effort, enhanced by a tremendous amount of community participation, feedback and support.