A long-range plan for public education in the Cayman Islands has been drafted and is ready for public consultation.
Input on the plan will be taken until Friday, 9 November and information gleaned from the survey will be used to complete the Cayman Islands Strategic Plan for Education 2012-2017.
“This plan needs to be able to survive the changes of government. We will achieve this by making sure that we are updating our strategic plan for education every five years, as we know we cannot stagnate and have to change. This will ensure that we are pro-actively meeting our education needs,” said Education Minister Rolston Anglin.
The initiative, which is being referred to as, “Be a Part of Change” is a chance for the community to influence the course of education in the Cayman Islands and have their say in the strategies that will be deployed to academically empower the Islands’ youth over the next five years.
The newest plan is an extension of the ministry’s 2011 Education Stabilisation Plan and was developed after meeting with focus groups that consisted of principals, teachers, students, parents and employers.
“Students have played a major role in the process and it really has been a unique approach to have them contribute to the draft in such a large way,” noted Ministry of Education Chief Officer Mary Rodrigues.
The draft plan was organised under six goals: 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.
Each goal has a list of strategic objectives in the draft plan
The first goal consists of initiatives such as reviewing and enhancing the legislative and policy framework for education; strengthening leadership and accountability in the system; developing a partnership approach to build capacity in the education system, attract, develop and retain high quality educators; and improve opportunities and provision in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.
Initiatives in the second goal of early childhood include supporting parents and families to be confident in their role and have an understanding of their children’s early development and learning needs. Supporting early childhood care and education centres/school owners and operators to be knowledgeable of and responsible for the needs of the children in their care and providing opportunities for early years teachers and practitioners to be confident and qualified in their roles.
The third goal includes ensuring opportunities for all students to achieve measurable success by providing a comprehensive national curriculum that will improve opportunities for students to experience success and develop the skills they need for the future. Other initiatives include providing a range of learning experiences that develop student’s knowledge, skills and understanding and promoting high standards through effective teaching; improving literacy and numeracy; and setting high standards of achievement, as well as monitoring students’ progress.
To build safer school communities, the plan is to promote student progression within welcoming, supportive, respectful and inclusive learning environments that value individual safety, well-being and the right to learn.
Objectives to achieve this goal consist of developing national policies and guidance to support welcoming, safe and respectful schools; establishing a supportive and welcoming school culture and community; supporting students to develop the understanding and skills to keep themselves and others safe and well; promoting student well-being and inclusive learning; establishing individualised learning pathways to increase the inclusion of at-risk students; and developing effective provision for at-risk students through multi-agency partnerships.
To enhance skills for learning, the goal is to provide access to a range of further education and training programmes aligned to national priorities; extend partnerships with employers to inform school-to-work initiatives and to provide quality work-based learning experiences; strengthen the support for work readiness and career preparation for primary and secondary students; and review the National Curriculum to emphasise the importance of developing a strong work ethic, social responsibility and Christian character.
Parents will be engaged through support of parents and families to actively engage in their children’s learning; training for schools and workshops for parents; supporting parents as their child’s first educator; and develop a communications strategy to let parents know the important role they play in the child’s learning and success.
“Everything that has been done has been piloted and it was important for us to make sure that what we are implementing has been tried and tested. The crux of it really is that in a town this small, we cannot have pockets of excellence. We have to do what is necessary to make sure we are giving all or our children an opportunity to succeed. We know that when we leave children behind society pays the cost,” said Mr. Anglin.
See the plan and take the survey at www.education.gov.ky. Comments can also be e-mailed to [email protected]