A history of public education

The history of public education in the Cayman Islands has been one that has highlights the travails of early settlers in the Islands.

Churches played an important part of education in the early development of the Islands. Between 1800 and 1840, the Mico Charity established two schools on Grand Cayman. The first trained Caymanian school master was John Jarrett Wood, who started a school in Bodden Town in 1844.

It was not until somewhere between the 1880 and 1900 that teachers Frederick Simpson and James Panton arrived from Jamaica and a gentleman by the name of Henry Hewitt started a school on Cayman Brac.

In 1902, the first education act was passed, allowing small grants to private schools and the Education Board was also established. A new education Act specifying compulsory education for children ages 6 to 14 was introduced. It was revised in 1920 for ages 7 to 14. Not long after, in 1921, two primary schools were opened in Cayman Brac.

During the 1940s, churches developed secondary educational facilities and in 1959 a secondary modern school was set up for vocational training in commercial and technical subjects. In 1964 British style Common Entrance Examinations were introduced. This created the dual school system. The top 40 students were selected to go to the Cayman High School and the rest went to the secondary modern school. That same year marked the CI government taking control of the Cayman High School and renaming it Cayman Islands High School.

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The Cayman Brac Secondary Modern School was established in 1967.

During the 1970s government-sponsored tertiary education began with the opening of the Community College. The International College of the Cayman Islands, a private institution also came online in the 1970s.

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