Preparing students for the future

If the future of Cayman Islands is in children’s education, then the Islands are well-prepared.

There are quite a few options for tertiary education, including the University College of the Cayman Islands, the International College of the Cayman Islands, University of West Indies’ Open Campus, St. Matthew’s University (for medical and veterinarian education) and the Cayman Islands Law School (University of Liverpool).

UCCI started as a government-sponsored tertiary education in the Cayman Islands in 1975 when the Community College was established as a part-time institution, according to the school’s site.
From 1976 to 1981, three other institutions – the Trade School, the Hotel School and the Marine School – were founded.

These schools were located at different sites and were supervised either by the Ministry of Education or the Ministry of Tourism and Labour.

In 1985, the government of the Cayman Islands decided to centralize the administration of all public post-secondary educational institutions on the islands.

The Hotel Training School, the Marine & Trade Training School and the Secreterial/Business Studies Section of the Sixth Form of the Cayman Islands High School were amalgamated to form the Community College of the Cayman Islands.

In 2004, by an act of the Legislative Assembly, the name of the institution was changed from the Community College of the Cayman Islands to the University College of the Cayman Islands.

Roy Bodden, president of the University College of the Cayman Islands, recently visited the United Nations headquarters in New York City at the end of November 2010, where he represented UCCI at the launch of the UN Academic Impact Initiative.

“Memberships in the United Nations in part can only serve to broaden the focus of scholarship, innovation and ideas already present on UCCI’s campus,” said Mr. Bodden. “In addition to this, such membership will make our homes, communities and consumption patterns socially and environmentally sustainable.”
UCCI also recently received funds from the FirstCaribbean International Bank for a new financial sector scholarship for students pursuing a business degree.

“This not only helps build UCCI, but, more importantly, secures and encourages the ongoing education of students and the development of our business community,” Mr. Bodden said.

The International College of the Cayman Islands is another one of Cayman’s universities. It’s preparing for its 40th anniversary, focusing with renewed energy on providing a quality education in the Cayman Islands.
The core values of ICCI embody a commitment to quality higher education that is affordable, practical and empowering, thereby fostering placement of graduates in the career path of their choosing.

The ICCI education provides attitudes, behaviours, sensitivities, skills and knowledge that are essential for all prospective hires out of school. The ICCI experience promotes a potential for leadership and a commitment to community service.

Their mission is to equip graduates with practical skills in critical thinking, problem solving and self-directed learning for success in the 21st Century job market.

ICCI recently broke ground for a new business building at its Savannah-Newlands campus, which includes high-tech classrooms and smart boards for finance and accounting, preparing business students for the future.

“Smart board technology is expected to continue to gain a presence in board rooms, so it is a good tool for both instructors and students to adopt in their class presentations and then use it in the business environment,” said college president John Cummings. Demand for more business classes is expected to continue to rise steadily over the next year, particularly for accounting, finance and banking courses to keep up with the competitive job market.”

St. Matthew’s University in the Cayman Islands – a leader in medicinal and veterinarian education – has been operating since 1997 with more than 1,000 students who have obtained their MD and DVM degrees.
Their graduates have earned residencies and/or permanent licensure in more than 40 states in the US and numerous other countries.

Their students achieve exceptional scholastic success, with US licensing examination pass rates comparable to US schools and far above the average of other non-US schools.

St. Matthew’s University recently donated books to ICCI in a sign of good charity to help another leading tertiary institution.

Since there are not many professional nurses frequenting the library at St. Matthew’s University compared to the past, the medical school decided to donate the books to the International College with an eye toward making them available to the wider community, explained Senthil Kumar, dean of basic sciences at St. Matthew’s University School of Medicine.

“We are always looking for opportunities to serve the wider Cayman community and this is an excellent opportunity for us to contribute by providing some of the best educational resources to a leading educational institution,” said Kumar. “We are happy that these books will be put to best use by the library at International College, and St. Matthew’s University is glad to have had this opportunity.”

The leading law school in Cayman – the University of Liverpool – was founded in 1881, and has an impressive history of pioneering education and research with a particular emphasis on ‘education for the professions.’

The Cayman Islands Law School is now a part of the University of Liverpool. The CI Law School was opened in 1982 by the then governor, Peter Lloyd, and in 1984 it moved to the fourth floor of the Tower Building.

In March 2005, the Law School relocated to the second and third floors of the former CIBC Building in George Town.

Since its opening, the aim of the Law School has been to provide students with a standard of legal education equivalent to that prevailing at good UK universities.

Students successful in the honours degree programme are eligible to pursue further postgraduate study at institutions of higher learning across the common-law world.

Consistent with the legal education experience in other law schools, CILS students anticipate an exciting and challenging experience. Less commonly, however, CILS students will not encounter overpopulated classes and elusive and uncaring lecturers.

The courses of study leading to the degree of Bachelor of Laws are designed to provide exposure to a wide range of English legal principles and at the same time develop skills of analysis, logical thought, conciseness, and critical ability.

The courses offered by the law school are attractive; therefore, not only to those students who wish to enter the legal profession but also to those having a variety of other career aspirations.

Another successful educational tool that is providing positive change for children and the community in Cayman is the Passport2Success programme, created by the Ministry of Education and Training. The programme offers students a chance to improve their ability to be hired.

The programme offers young people a chance to improve employability, boosting their personal and professional skills, and providing practical training in job-specific areas, work experience, exposure to employers and career guidance.

Students earn a weekly performance-based stipend and stamps in the mock ‘passport’ based on completion of each section of the programme.

The programme addresses skills like literacy and information technology while teaching students how to secure and maintain a job and it helped prepare students for the realities of the workplace.

Education and Training Minister Rolston Anglin said the programme helps students gain a firm grasp of employers’ expectations.

“Increasingly, entry level positions in the workforce require higher levels of education and so the government has introduced Passport2Success as a remedial measure,” Mr. Anglin said. “It’s designed to ensure that your transition to the world-of-work is as smooth as possible. We hope to give the young and unemployed a chance to help themselves.”

With the universities of Cayman and programmes like this one, the future looks bright for Cayman children.