A review of the Cayman Islands education system will include an assessment of the suitability of U.K.-style academies in the territory.
The KPMG review, which focuses on how schools are governed, will examine various models for “enhanced private sector partnership” in schools.
Consultant Roland Meredith said potential options could range from simply “adding innovation” to the existing system to more transformational changes, such as introducing academies.
The EY report on public finances has already recommended a pilot scheme to put four government schools under private sector control.
Education Minister Tara Rivers said Wednesday that this model, similar to the U.K.-style academy system and charter schools in the U.S., is one of several options that will be assessed.
Mr. Meredith said he would make no concrete recommendations. He said he would assess the pros and cons of various different models in the Cayman Islands context and lay out the possibilities in a report to be published in January.
He said academies have been successful in some areas of the U.K., but in other regions, such as London, schools’ results have improved dramatically without such radical changes.
“They [London schools] haven’t changed the way they have been structured in relation to the government in any way whatsoever … they just carried out some very intensive school improvement.
“Just by changing what you already have, you can get huge improvements.”
The review will also investigate the possibility of changing the national curriculum to better suit the islands’ economy.
Mr. Meredith added, “My specialism is on very much trying to understand what the curriculum of the future should contain so that young people can develop the skills and the knowledge package they will need to be successful in the world they find when they leave school.”
He said any changes to the way schools are managed and to the subjects that are taught in schools should be “fit for purpose” for the Cayman Islands of the future.
He added that he will be hosting workshops with teachers, students and employers to assess potential changes focusing on “future need.”
“That doesn’t necessarily mean getting rid of elements of the curriculum that are already there; it might be that it just changes the balance and adds to it,” he said.
Ms. Rivers said the review will assess the effectiveness of the current system.
“It is important that we have an understanding of where we are now before we make fundamental decisions about where we want to go,” she said.
She added that the “ultimate goal” is to encourage “other players” not currently involved to come into the education market.
She said various alternative models will be examined, including “the charter school route as defined in the EY report. That is one of the models that will be explored further; that certainly isn’t the only one.”