RCN Editorial: Where does Johann stand on public education?

| 10th March 2021 | 2 Comments
Johann Moxam speaking at an event.

Sent in by: Johann Moxam.

Education

The recent publication of the Office of Education Standards inspections of Cayman Islands schools includes this horrifying statement: “More than 80% of Caymanian students attend schools that do not meet national standards.” (Cayman Current, 13 January 2021)


Our system of public education is broken. For nearly 30 years, it has failed a generation of Caymanians, leaving thousands of Caymanians behind, unable to get decent jobs in a country with over 20,000 work permits at any given time. The public education model is failing our people.


All public schools, apart from The Lighthouse School, have been evaluated as weak or satisfactory. 80% of Caymanian children go to public school. This means we are systematically putting Caymanians at a disadvantage. There is no national plan for technical and vocational training, no plan for ensuring high school graduates are digitally proficient or re-skilling adults already in the workforce. 


The Government spends $90million a year on education to disadvantage our children. Caymanians come home with degrees and are told too often by employers that they don’t qualify for a job. High School graduates don’t have the basics to allow them to get entry-level jobs. 


What are the root causes of these continuing failures? Is it the quality of teaching in the classroom? Is it a lack of parental engagement? Too many children with behaviour issues? The home environment and family situation? Is it due to unidentified needs for extra learning support? Is it the policies and management of public education? Is it school leadership? 

The truth is, we don’t know. We are not collecting relevant data, and therefore, we are not using accurate and relevant data to make decisions. We are applying solutions without diagnosing the problem.

Policy Proposals:

If elected, I will work hard to persuade the other 18 parliamentarians and senior civil servants that developing our people is the single most important national priority facing the country. Working collaboratively with education stakeholders in the public and private sector, students, parents and civic society, we would update the education policy framework to help our people catch up and prevent another lost generation. 

The proposed policies would: 

·       Provide FREE education for all Caymanians, starting a year earlier at 3 years and 9 months through Year 13

·       Ensure all eligible Caymanians receive FREE tertiary education at local institutions

·       for years 12 and 13 whether academic based, e.g. AS and A-Levels or based in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and

·       for Associates or Bachelors’ degrees, a full scholarship to obtain 2 or 4-year degrees at UCCI and ICCI.

·       Be child and student-centred, designed to help each student thrive and achieve their full potential in the physical, emotional, intellectual and social dimensions.

·       Provide integrated and coordinated support for children and families in education, health, and human services.

·       Is closely aligned with the needs of the society and the economy’s existing and emerging industries. 

·       Ensure each, and every, Caymanian who wants to work is prepared, ready and able to secure employment in this country.

·       Encourage continuing education for all, including mature students.


Recommended Actions Short Term, By June 30, 2021:

1.     Organize Education, Employment, Health and Human Services resources into a single fixed Ministry, stop shuffling subjects every 4 years.  

2.     Commission a 30-day public-private-civic task force to assess the factors impacting Caymanians’ educational outcomes and recommend the most significant changes to be made in time for the start of the September 2021 school year.  

3.     Deliver a robust 6-week summer camp programme for primary and secondary students across each district offering life skills and experiences with STEM subjects, the arts, sports, and civics.

4.     Provide free afterschool and weekend programmes of homework assistance, learning support, clubs and enrichment activities at each school with school bus transport to match the schedules. 

5.     In all public primary schools, offer supervised afterschool care to 5:30pm.

Recommended Actions Medium Term, By September 1, 2022

1.     Implement a new model of schools’ governance that embraces a culture of respect, inclusion, accountability, and excellence.

2.     Recruit, develop and retain the best trained and most effective school leaders and teachers, using appropriate class and school-based metrics.  

3.     Implement community-based systems to support children’s learning and development across academics, sports, the arts, heritage and civics by adding weekend programming at school 

4.     Provide Full Scholarships for all Caymanians who want to become teachers, teacher’s aides, training specialists, social and youth workers. 

5.     Regularly measure and annually report on child and adult educational outcomes.


It will cost money to get our people caught up. We have no choice. We need to develop our human and social capital. 
 

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. – Nelson Mandela

In the Cayman Islands, getting our people educated to the highest standards possible is the only way we will change the course of their lives for the better. Education protects us from being marginalised and impoverished in our own prosperous country. A sustainable future requires a majority of Caymanians to be able to thrive today and in the future. 

Thanks to my father, I had the benefit of a great education, and experienced first-hand the many opportunities one access because of a good education. I believe every Caymanian ought to have affordable access to a quality education. It worries me that we are now a society where to access a good education you have to go to a private school. That is wrong. Plain wrong. especially with the soaring cost of living and rapidly growing population.   

I didn’t set out to be a politician, but this vexing situation is harmful to our people. I’ve talked to so many people who are willing to help turn things around. If getting elected with a group of like-minded change agents is what it takes to make sure we stop ignoring the problems with public education, then count on me. The United Nations has a sustainable goal dedicated to education, Goal #4.

If I am elected, I will not stop until we make Cayman’s public education one of the best in the world. A quality education can change your life. We owe it to our children to stop making excuses and give them the tools they need to succeed in an ever more competitive world.

Let’s create a better Cayman for all. 

Category: RCN Editorial Board

Comments (2)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I previously voted for Hew, but I think I will vote for Johann now, he is a A+ candidate.

  2. net news fan says:

    Johann talking facts!

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