Online Poll: Public-private school gap needs to be remedied

There is a vast discrepancy between the quality of education being taught in public and private schools in the Cayman Islands and it is cause for concern, according to the largest segment of people responding to a Caymanian Compass online poll asking how they rate the performance of local institutions. 

The question, “The new school year is about to open. How do you rate local school performance?”, drew 272 total respondents, with 85 votes – or 31.2 percent of those participating – selecting “The gulf is too great between private and public education” as their answer.  

The four other possible answers included: “They do pretty well. Improvements are slow, but steady”; “Little has changed. Much to be achieved”; “What choice do we have? Children need to attend: parents worry” and “Other”. 

Among these other possible answers, “Little has changed. Much to be achieved” drew the second largest number of votes with 76 – or 27.9 percent of those voting – followed closely by the 75 votes cast by those who selected “They do pretty well. Improvements are slow, but steady.”  

It was a ways back to the final choices, including “What choice do we have? Children need to attend: parents worry,” which nabbed 29 votes – or 10.7 percent of those participating.  

The last choice, “Other,” collected seven votes – or 2.6 percent of responses. 

There was only one comment left by a voter who selected the leading answer, “The gulf is too great between private and public education”. 

They said: “Most public school students sit an average of seven O-level-type subjects, compared to private [schools’] 10 to 12. It would be interesting if an FOI were done on the Education Department management as to which schools their kids attend.” 

The second and third most popular answers received a much more vocal response. 

One voter who chose “Little has changed. Much to be achieved”, opined: “I would love to see the government doing more … I believe in a country and government that do more than just speak about academics.” 

A pair of other comments followed under the choice “They do pretty well. Improvements are slow, but steady,” including some praise for the previous government administration and a nod to improving test scores. 

“Kudos should be given to the previous administration, let’s hope the new one does not try to reinvent the wheel. Solid progress has been made, let’s keep following the path that has already been laid down,” said the respondent. 

Added the other, “Test results in the public schools are improving, but grade promotion on simply age must stop. It is not fair to the child.” 

There were no comments left by supporters of the choice “What choice do we have? Children need to attend: parents worry.” 

However, some of the most vocal submissions were proffered by those choosing the category “Other,” including questions regarding system-wide curriculum choices and skepticism about test results. 

One commenter said, “Savannah Primary, we were very happy with all of the teachers, each of them gave 100 percent to each of their students NOT that they got the thanks they deserved. Parents need to take the time to get to know them and see how many days/hours they put in. Even with a pay cut they still manage to provide materials using their own money to make sure every child gets the chance to learn. The only thing I did not like was the fact education [department] seem to change the curriculum each year.  

All schools are as good as the support they get from parents and students (I am a parent).” 

Another said, “I read your story about the record-breaking school results, which defy logic. Lies, damn lies and statistics!” 

“Public schools should not offer reception classes,” said a third. 

But at least one person didn’t care much for the poll to begin with. 

“What kind of crazy answers are those? This poll is useless. Just give it up,” they wrote. 

Next Week’s Poll Question:  

  1. Do you pick up hitchhikers? 
  2. Yes. We all should be Good Samaritans and public transport is not very good. 
  3. Yes, if I know them. 
  4. Maybe, under certain circumstances (explain) 
  5. Only if it’s raining 
  6. Not under any circumstances 

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