Consultants recommend boards to run schools

| 14/09/2015 | 40 Comments
Cayman News Service

John Gray High School

(CNS): In its review of the current education system KPMG has recommended a new governance model for public schools in the Cayman Islands that would make them independent from the ministry and government. The management consultants and auditors want to see boards introduced to manage schools that will include parents, former students and teachers, as well as employers and members of the business community.

In a report based on a review of local government schools, which found that all of them would be in “special measures” if they were in the UK, KPMG said schools need autonomy from government.

“In the specific context of the Cayman Islands, where potential changes to Government, and hence educational direction, take place every 4 years, there are clear benefits to create schools with greater ‘independence’ from the Ministry and DES,” the consultants found. “Such schools are able to take a long term view and create a vision and change plan to match this. It is important that independence be adhered to in order for this to be effective, for example governance board members be appointed by an independent body.”

Criticising the current system, KPMG has recommended a new system, which it has termed ‘The Cayman Partnership School’, a model the auditors claimed would facilitate a “greater degree of community involvement and integration, which is proven to enhance the success of the schools”.

The report found that changing to an alternative model with a governing body that is autonomous from the government would make the greatest impact. This would include individuals from the local community, employers, parents, teachers and students.

The board would then be tasked with the recruitment of principal and the autonomous planning, budgeting and reporting procedures, as well as the overall vision for the school.

Falling short of recommending that the schools are privatized, the auditors recommended a system in which government and taxpayers finance education overall but have a lot less say in how schools are managed. Recommending that the schools move away from the UK system and a national curriculum, the auditors looked at schools in Hong Kong, Singapore and Sweden, which have some of the world’s best performing schools.

Calling for sweeping change in order to prepare the next generation of Caymanians for the workplace, the auditors emphasised the need to focus on information and technology to ensure students are equipped with the necessary 21st Century competencies to create a highly educated and skilled workforce.

The report also pushes the agenda of what employers want to see when it comes to education and preparing children to be workers.

Describing the governance model for the recommended Cayman Partnership schools, the auditors said the boards would drive the education agenda, curriculum relevance and the quality of learning and teaching.

“Careful choice of the governing board provides business and financial expertise that contributes to well-managed schools that have a focus on the world of work and business,” the report stated.

KPMG Report – Independent Review of the Cayman Islands’ Public Education System June 2015

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Please, if I hear another dullard ask, in all seriousness, why it is that “private schools like Prep and Catholic get better results than public schools” I am going to go mad. If you don’t know the answer, talk to a family member, friend, pastor – in short anyone with a grain of common sense. Thank you.

  2. The Country With Plans but no action says:

    Thank you Alan Turner. I share the same sentiments. Now I encourage residents who care about education to use their smartphones and google the Finland, South Korea and Canadian model. The only sad thing is that our Govt’s have travelled to these Countries, have researched them by their many Policy Advisors but still don’t or won’t implement anything from these visits, research and reports. It’s sad. Instead we reward poor performance with salary increases.

  3. Anonymous says:

    If the consultants knew just how partisan those boards would be, how connected everyone is and how corrupt Cayman was I doubt such a recommendation would be made. Its bad enough that parents can phone Ministers direct can you imagine what the make up of these boards would lead to…..

  4. Anonymous says:

    So let me get this straight, government (the ministry/education department) would not be the ones to decide what our children are taught, and more importantly, what they are not taught. And each school would decide on the curriculum. This is so hilarious, a recipe for complete and utter chaos.

  5. Anonymous says:

    In Cayman another level of management is always the answer to poor performance. Its the future!

  6. Fools, Frauds, and Failures says:

    I seem to recall the beloved speaker of the Assembly starting off as a PE teacher at the then CIHS.

    • Anonymous says:

      And she went on to become a world class high hurdler! Hurdles like the AG reports, FCO stipulations, and just piles and piles of common sense and decency proved to be no obstacle in separating her from her desires.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Boards just lead to patronage, nepotism and corruption.

    What would work to improve the education system:

    1) Income tax. Yes, let’s face it a country that does not pay income tax cannot expect much from public services.

    2) Streaming. Assuming income tax is off the table. Stream and stream hard. Then focus resources hard on the top streams. The underclass lower streams will never achieve anyway.

    3) Allow foreign kids in for free. Middle class parents make a big difference to school performance. Allowing expat kids would shift the parent socioeconomic demographic upward massively in one move, with immediate positive effect on the schools.

    1 and 3 are politically unacceptable to the current crop of inferior spineless politicians.

    • Anonymous says:

      Correction: Boards in Cayman just lead to patronage, nepotism and corruption.

    • Anonymous says:

      1 is not necessary. We have other taxes to pay for public services. If income tax were ever introduced these other taxes would have to be reduced considerably or dropped because the cost of living and doing business here is already abysmal.

    • Just Commentin' says:

      Point 1) “… a country that does not pay income tax cannot expect much from public services” is just plain silly. Government seems to allocate a fair share to education. Whether the source of public funds is from duties and fees, or from an income tax, money is money and the source has no relevance as to how effectively the money is spent. Moreover, the crop of former students, the men of vision that moulded the Cayman Islands into what became a successful model for the region, were schooled in an educational environment that was far more basic and cash-strapped than that of modern day Cayman.

      Point 2) “The underclass lower streams will never achieve anyway.” is bigoted and elitist. Supercilious also comes to mind. My children attended public schools. They excelled and did not have to be streamed because we instilled in them correct attitudes, respect, and disciplined work ethic, relative to their education. For the most part, their peers, children with the same type of upbringing, became successfully performing students that went on to make something of themselves. Streaming would have made little difference in my children’s education or their lot in life. They are successful because they were raised to apply real effort to do their best. We “streamed” them at home by being pro-active in their education. We read to them almost from birth, presented them with problem solving challenges, gave them responsibilities, regularly met with their educators, and expected nothing less (or more) than they did their best at all times.

      The purpose of not streaming is to give equal opportunity to the underachievers in hopes that they will not be left behind and marginalised. If a segment of society becomes disenfranchise, social problems ensue. Streaming has been shown to exacerbate the gaps between well performing students and those of lesser abilities. It sows some of the seeds that lead to marginalisation, social strife, and crime.

      Point 3) Your point #2 would effectively negate many of the benefits of mixing students of varying socioeconomic strata.

      While I agree that we have a “…crop of inferior spineless politicians”, may I bring your head to the wind by reminding you that they did not elect themselves. I shall proffer that it takes a crop of mindless, moronic electors to vote into office a crop inferior spineless politicians. Caymanian whine and lay blame on the politicians they themselves elect. They deflect blame because the truth points a stern finger. If dissatisfied Caymanians want to know where the blame lies for poor education, or any other aspect of poor governance, they need not look any further than the face the mirror. It is imperative that we to be more far more selective in who we elect and far more demanding that they do their best once in office.

      • Anonymous says:

        1) Those involved in education say there is a chronic lack of funds available at the teaching “coal face”. There active testimony indicates you are wrong on that.

        2) Elitism may be unpopular, but the reality is you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. Throwing money at the the lower intelligence constituencies of the lower classes makes no difference to them and is a waste of resources. American education has done very well by focusing resources on the more intelligent. In any event, your own comment shows an elitist streak by equating school performance with being middle class – see what you said on point 2. Why waste money on those never destined to achieve regardless of what you offer?

        3) No it would not.

  8. Big Bertha says:

    Don’t worry folks. The magic cruise dock will fix all of this……..

  9. No Soup for You says:

    More shite and more useless reports, from those who have absolutely no clue about the topic they’re consulting on. That will be one million dollars please. No soup for YOU!!

  10. Patricia Bryan says:

    We see what happened to GT Hospital when it was recommended to have a board manage that.

  11. Anonymous says:

    It’s not always a school issue. Parents of private school children pay good money for their children educating, if the child misbehaves the parent is straight to the school to sort it out. Who many public school children misbehave and the parents can’t be bothered to go? I know of one family who kids are playing on the street until 11pm, what chance have the teachers got on educating these children who are half asleep during class. Education and discipline begin in the home. Respect the teachers and give them a chance to educate your child. Get you child in bed at 8pm ready for a day of learning not a day of sleeping and disruptive behavior. One bad kid can ruin a class of 30. Catch a fish for a man and he will have food for the day, show him how to catch fish and he’ll have food for a lifetime.

    • Anonymous says:

      to 8.06pm, Maybe you who have the money have the parents with no money working 12 hrs or more just to make ends meet,oh who weeps, history repeating it self.
      greed makes poor parenting. also govn’t gives private schools money but they don’t have enough for the public schools.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hey 1.52 I’m not sure if that’s a compliment or an insult?when paying a grand a month for schooling I’m pretty sure they don’t need a helping hand from the government but I could be wrong.

      • The goat says:

        Government gives private schools money but not as much as all the Caymanians attending private schools save government from having to cover them at public schools … It was approx 17k to educate one child per annum in public schools I last heard. The hundreds of Caymanian kids that attend private schools save the government having go cover their education costs; what is given to the private schools association to spread amongst public schools doesn’t amount to very much.

  12. Bored says:

    Let’s get one thing straight, the volunteer board system no longer works. The civil service still runs the show and if they don’t like what a board is trying to implement they simply wait them out until the next election.

    What we need is actual performance and competence from our $600,000,000 per year civil servants.

    Do some work!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Why does our Govt have to constantly spend money on reports and consultants when all they need to do is look around them, both here and abroad, to see how systems, laws and everything else they can’t figure out themselves is working successfully? Why don’t they take a tour of St. Ignatius and Prep to get the ball rolling, its 5 mins from their offices on Walkers Rd FFS!

  14. 345 says:

    As the saying goes “some of my best friends are accountants…” but please, this is just simply stupid and costly, stick to bean counting. As other commentators and I have said previously, quit the “private sector does everything better” line and focus on Finland.

    If we are unable to get the families involved and committed to education, and hire nothing but the best teachers, everything else becomes a waste of time.

  15. Anonymous says:

    It seems that someone has to take over the running of the public schools. We continue to have children being pushed through to graduation and cannot read or complete a simple form. Some of them can’t even hold a conversation – if a child is fortunate enough to have the personal commitment and have parents who pay attention to their children’s progress, they will come out with excellent grades. If they don’t, then they just fall between the cracks, and we have too many your people there already. We need a board of education comprised of individuals who know what we need in teachers, policies and curriculum.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Well Hon Rivers, McTaggart and Connolly, the C4C team should be pleased, don’t know about PPM but the C4C seem to be getting the value for money from their candidates, at least when it comes to education.

    • Anonymous says:

      btw… my post at 2:40 was meant to be a sarcastic take on what’s being done with our education, trust all the likes were of same view. Another layer, especially hand picked boards again, will lead to greater political interference and if the politicians cared about our children would not be worried, but they don’t, but at least will be easier for them to get rid of the few native Caymanians and good foreign teachers from Europe we do have at the public schools.

  17. Alan Turner. says:

    This would be a step in the right direction. However, there is a good working education model which already works in the Cayman Islands which has been in place for decades. That model is the private education system which has served the Cayman Islands and numerous Caymanians well. Recent exam results show that Cayman based privately owned schools can compete with some of the best performing schools elsewhere. I have no view on wheter private or public education is better. But if each Caymanian child is fully funded I do not see why privare v public education should be a practical issue. Perhaps government should limit their involvement in education to providing grants to young Caymanians to attend local private schools and tertiary education here and abroad. The cost of grants would most likely be less than the current education budget and current schools could be sold to education focused groups with a proven track record of operating good quality schools. This would allow education to be de-politicised and individual families would have a wider choice as many have no choice currently except to take or leave the poor quality education provided by government at huge expense to the Cayman taxpayer. The children would benefit and the people of the Cayman Islands would benefit as current liabilities for building and maintaining school buildings could be shifted to people who know how to opearte these sort of complex institutions. Government would of course maintain its obligation to inspect all education establishments. Such an approach although likely to improve the current situation will upset vested interests but that is worth doing when weighed against the benefits to future generations of Caymanians who will be better able to compete in the local job market with a better all round education.
    Studies show that Finland is the best country in the world for education. This is because the best educated Finns become teachers and becoming a teacher is no easy task in Finland. Cayman can eventually move towards improvements by employing better teachers but the current arrangements need fundamental reform and then a new foundation can be built on. Trying to amend the current system with so many vested interests will grind to a halt and children will continue to suffer the daily consequences.

    • Anonymous says:

      Those that can’t, teach
      Those that can’t teach, teach PE,
      Those that cant teach PE, get a job in Cayman as a teacher.

      • Anonymous says:

        That was a very annoying comment. We have a PE teacher on Cayman Brac who has very successfully acted as a Senior Teacher in primary, a Social Studies teacher at secondary level, and has now chosen to teach PE. He is bringing an exciting change to the motivation and pathetic skill level of the majority of students.

        • Anonymous says:

          He should focus on goalkeeping coaching. There is natural talent in that position in abundance.

        • Anonymous says:

          And the British consultant behind Clifton Hunter used to be a drama teacher at the old High School on Grand Cayman, then later on became principal of the Brac High School so it shows how people can develop beyond their original expertise.

          • Anonymous says:

            Now that explains a lot. Act like it and you will become it. Clifton Hunter needed to be designed and consulted by a professional.

          • Anonymous says:

            From day one the teachers tried to explain that the design would make teaching very difficult, but would the Ministry listen, no. They, just like is happening now, went ahead without consulting and you have the result, which is a building not fit for purpose.How in Gods name teacher’s opinions, who after all were the end users, could have been excluded from decision beggers belief.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Just what we need, another level of management.

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