The Cayman Islands school system is a multidimensional assortment of government entities and private service providers, which together deliver primary and secondary education to more than 8,600 children in the country.
From a broad perspective, the provision of education in Cayman is a bifurcated system. Nearly all of the students at government schools are Caymanian, while the children of expatriates as a rule attend private schools.
There are exceptions – non-permanent residents who are government workers can use government schools (space allowing) and many Caymanians send their children to private schools – but there is a distinct separation. Government data shows that 4,900 students attend primary and secondary government schools, while 3,700 are in the private system.
Adding further wrinkles to the system, government schools (as well as some private schools) are organized according the British system of education, while some private schools – such as Cayman International School and Triple C School – are modeled on the American system.
Underlying those top-line statistics is a vast network of officials, administrators, educators and staff that together operate schools and regulate the provision of education in Cayman.
The primary official responsible for education in Cayman is Sister Islands MLA Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, who is Minister of Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture and Lands. The ministry’s chief officer is Cetonya Cacho.
Below the ministry is the Department of Education Services, led by Director Lyneth Monteith. Each government school is led by a principal. There are staff members at the ministry, department and school levels.
As would be expected, education is one of the largest items in the government’s budget. During the current budget cycle, the government intended to spend about $110 million per year on education. The government does not provide details of its expenditures based on, for example, administration, faculty or operations.
However, figures indicate that, for example, $14.3 million was budgeted for the Department of Education Services, $9.7 million for John Gray High School, $9.1 million for Clifton Hunter High School and $3.6 million for Sir John A. Cumber Primary School (which is the largest primary school in Cayman).
The government operates eight primary schools and two high schools on Grand Cayman, two primary schools and a high school on Cayman Brac, and a one-room schoolhouse on Little Cayman.