Cayman to provide schooling for child evacuees

| 20/09/2017 | 56 Comments
Cayman News Service

RCIPS officers with children on the British Virgin Islands (Photo courtesy of the RCIPS)

(CNS): The Ministry of Education is opening up temporary spaces in government schools and waiving school fees for child evacuees from British Overseas Territories devastated by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria. Children of compulsory school age (5-17 years old) who have temporarily relocated to Cayman from the British Virgin Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands or Anguilla will be allowed to attend government schools for the remainder of the 2017-2018 school year, the ministry said Wednesday.

A spokesperson for the ministry confirmed that they had already received “expressions of interest” about places in schools here for children evacuated out of hurricane devastated areas.

Students who wish to attend private schools must liaise directly with the private school and incur their specific fee requirements, the ministry said.

Noting the difficulties faced by people who want to relocate temporarily from hurricane hit islands with their children and pets, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Agriculture presented two proposals about providing temporary provisions to alleviate these difficulties to Cabinet, which approved them both. (See related story here)

Following Hurricane Ivan in September 2004, more than 200 children of school age were sent to Cayman Brac for safety and many remained in the schools there for months and some remained for the rest of that school year.

“Having been through Hurricane Ivan and Hurricane Paloma, I can empathise with the British Overseas Territories, and I pray that they remain strong and have faith that their countries will be restored,” said Education and Agriculture Minister Juliana O’Connor Connolly. “It is during these difficult times, we must come together and support our fellow Caribbean neighbours and provide them a place of respite.”

This move by the Ministry of Education is part of the continued efforts by the Cayman government and private sector to assist other BOTs following the passage of Hurricane Irma, which has included sending police officers to the BVI, the RCIPS helicopter and crew to Turks and Caicos, and sending medical teams and relief supplies to Anguilla.

CUC also sent staff to TCI to help restore the power there, and other businesses and charities have sent emergency supplies to the affected areas.

The Department of Education Services (DES) is advising that the application and registration process to assist those students requesting admission to government schools will begin immediately. However, in order to ensure that the process runs smoothly, submissions of completed registration forms and available supporting documentation must be forwarded to DES for processing as soon as possible.

Registration forms and information are available for pick up at DES or may be downloaded here.

Completed registration forms with the attached documentation should be forwarded to:

Grand Cayman
Mr. Errol Levy
Senior Registration/Attendance/Truancy Officer
Office of Registration & Communication Services
Department of Education Services (DES),
130 Thomas Russell Way
George Town, Grand Cayman
Tel: 345-244-1816

Cayman Brac and Little Cayman
Mrs. Tammy Hopkins
Senior School Improvement Officer
Cayman Brac Teachers’ Centre
Tel: 948-0356

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Category: Education, Local News

Comments (56)

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  1. Hot Chick says:

    I’ve read with interest a lot of the negative comments on this article We are supposedly a christian society which claims to love thy neighbour – I’m struggling to find the love in a lot of what’s been said.
    When Hurricane Ivan hit the Cayman Islands back in 2004 many kids were sent away to school in other countries, to families, friends, Cayman Brac – everyone tried to help – if they knew what had happened. Lots of companies sent their employees to neighbouring islands like BVI, Turks and Caicos, Bermuda, Barbados and they all continued working for the Cayman Islands to continue generating revenue, at a time when we needed it the most.
    I keep hearing people say no-one helped us – a lot of the time people didn’t know what had happened. There was no social media back in 2004 in fact this website didn’t exist, it was extremely difficult to get the message and the photos of the destruction out to the world and also difficult when outside media were not allowed in.
    Let’s welcome these people, many who have lost everything and show them some Caymankind. It could be us again one day.

  2. anonymous says:

    As a parent and public servant that experienced the wrath of hurricane Ivan and didn’t see my family for several days, like so many others that were on duty, when the hurricane struck.

    I am personably aware of many countries and friends of our Islands that provided much needed relief and refuge to those that had to be evacuated that among other things, allowed us to better focus and the recovery efforts.

    I am also aware of many Caymanian children who were accommodated overseas to continue their education, including one of my nieces and a close friend of my daughter and family, now an attorney-at-law, were relocated to another Caribbean Island where she completed her Advanced levels studies and archived top grades.

    I’m confident that some of the views expressed here,which lacks human decency and compassion, do not reflect the views of the vast majority of the peoples and those of us adopted Caymanians and residents but it worries me that some of our guests and those overseas will read these comments and might form and adverse view of us all.

    We do not live in isolation of the global community and are not immune from manmade and natural disasters.

    Moreover importantly, I believe that that our benevolence, compassion and charity will put us in a stronger position when we need to negotiate with international governments, including HM Government that have taken note of our leadership in responding to the affected territories by these unprecedented hurricanes in modern times.

    And if this were not the case – it’s the right thing to do and that’s why we do so!

    We shall also remember those suffering from the devastation caused by the earth quakes in Mexico and the valiant efforts rescuers and ordinary citizens to save precious lives, including children, who were in school when the recent earth quake struck.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Cann’t even educate your own and now acting like your a do gooder handing out educations!!!! WTF???

  4. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous says:

    As a parent I am of course pleased that they are willing to reach out and assist with ensuring our neighboring Caribbean children will not have their studies interrupted by these disasters. But I know of someone who had take her two daughters here from April and all because of health issues and her daughter was getting medical care at Health City. .she had a spinal issue so both parents here on work permit was trying to enroll them in government school. Because doctor the doctor say that the child would have to be from here to Miami children hopital so.they did amendment and all immigration needed is a letter from the Education Department and he refuses so the ammendment was refused .

  5. Proud Caymanian says:

    Crazy to see comments critcising CIG because we are “welcoming expats for free”. Incase this has slipped your mind – they are coming from their home that is completely wrecked and ruined. Education is a human right.

    Also – to respond to a commenter earlier about expats who have been here for years and can’t send their children to public school; they have jobs – an income – a home. These people from our fellow west indian countries have NONE of this right now. Homes have been flown away and ripped apart. A lot are not in their job right now due to the after effects of the hurricane = no income.

    Please, find it in yourself to have a heart.

    I am a PROUD CAYMANIAN and so happy to see our Government doing this!

    • Anonymous says:

      All true, except my Caymanian child cannot get educated here because the resources are stretched too thin.

      • Anonymous says:

        so you are saying your child is unable to attend school? or are you saying it doesn’t get the education you think he/she should get? what are you doing to enhance his/her education?

        • Anonymous says:

          My child has needs that should be available in the education system and are not due to lack of resources. Some are complicated and others (like a safe and positive learning environment and paper) are not. I am therefore paying myself for what is needed.

    • Jotnar says:

      Your compassion is wonderful, but perhaps based on a misunderstanding. read the Compass today. The vast majority of the evacuees are the employees of financial services firms, who continue to work, just based here. Immigration is even considering giving them work permits if they stay more than 2 months. And the govenrment is expecting even more to arrive. So we may end up with a situation where for the first time expats working here are receiving free education at the tax payers expense. That could have been avoided by a little forethought and a limitation of the right to those that didn’t have the financial means or are not working, but it was handed out to anyone. There is a difference between compassion and helping those that need it, and wasting resources because Government doesn’t stop to think before it acts.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Expat children are not welcome in government schools and required to pay huge fees to educate their children. Their is always talk of not even having enough resources to educate the kids on island. There are kids forced into being schooled from home because there are not even enough spots in private schools. I support helping people in need, but tell me how the system can support these children when they can’t even support the Caymanians and expats who call Cayman home.

    • Anonymous says:

      Many expat children in public schools, exceptions made all the time

    • Anonymous says:

      And yet if this government had stood by and done nothing while children from (and citizens of) 3 other BOTs went without education, you all would have nothing but criticism for their lack of action.

      Meanwhile depriving our own islands by sending police, hazard management and health services resources and manpower is ok, but providing for these people within the borders of our [spared] country is a no-no.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Cabinet needs to gazette the immigration waiver given. If they all landed in the Islands as visitors they cannot attend schools or work.

  8. MM says:

    I have mixed feelings about this.

    As a parent I am of course pleased that we are willing to reach out and assist with ensuring our neighboring Caribbean children will not have their studies interrupted by these disasters.

    On the other hand; when we recall news articles about lack of school resources, understaffed classrooms, uncontrollable behavioral incidences and so on; it all makes me wonder how adding more students is going to help.

    Also, before our local children begin school they must ensure their immunization records and health checks are provided – is this process also being followed or will this be an “application received, you can start Monday” process….

    As a parent with students in public school I am concerned by some of the students whom I actually know that attend the same schools as my children… now I am even more concerned that we will have numerous students entering our classrooms barely vetted.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I hope they bring their own school textbooks. None at present in Caymans

  10. Anonymous says:

    I remember after Ivan in the Cayman Islands our children was out of school for months then went on shifts for school, some people are so fortunate….

    • Sharkey says:

      9:07 am , that because we had a different Education Minister then who didn’t have humanity or cared about our kids . But I applaud Ms O’Connor the Education Minister for her humanitarian efforts in helping those kids . And hopes that she pays and gives the kids that she is really responsible for more and better education and opportunities.

      • Anonymous says:

        Oh, please…the Education Minister is not paying it from her own pockets, and her humanity and care for the kids is not superior to ours.
        She still didn’t come clean after spending $500,000 on private lot paving in Cayman Brac, land purchasing schemes etc.
        Spending public money is easy. This is to divert attention from Alastair Swarbrick’ report about her possible “breach of trust”. How fast you people forget things like that.

      • Anonymous says:

        do you realize how stupid your comment is?
        You have entrusted a person with possible breach of trust even bigger purse to spend as she pleases, to ensure her popularity, BEFORE she was even cleared of all wrongdoings. And there are plenty. And RCIPS Anti-corruption unit is still investigating and will be investigating until the end of times.

        • Sharkey says:

          12:15 pm , I do realize how smart my comment are , an how stupid yours are for going of subject . I am only referring to her good Humanitarian deed to the victim kids , I am not talking about her past , that has nothing to do with the subject of my comment, stupid stump ..

          • Anonymous says:

            it is not her own money she is spending! So don’t give her a credit for “Humanitarian deed”.

        • Sharkey says:

          12:15 pm , if you want to be a productive Citizen stop beating up on the key pad and start investigating what the Minister has done to bring those kids to Cayman to school them for a year . To make sure she is not repeating what you are talking about.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Give it a week and they’ll be begging not to be made to go.

  12. Lost says:

    Lol we can’t even get all of our kids schooled because some aren’t so fortunate but a whole load of foreigners will get schooled for free wow. Not meaning to sound selfish but I mean, we are so quick to play hero to other countries while ours still suffering and nothing done about it. Sucks

  13. Jotnar says:

    I appreciate being suppportive of refugees, which is altruistic and noble, But CIG could have limited this to allowing refugees to enlist kids in private schools at their parents or a sponsors expense in the same way as they treat any other expat. But instead the kids are allowed to enlist in a public school, already under real pressure on headcount, completely free of cost and at tax payers expense irrespective of the means of the the family? Those families evacuated here so far are largely professionals from the financial services sector who can afford private education. Yet now they can put their kids in the public school system, when expat families here for years are not allowed? This cannot remotely be fair, quit apart from the fact that they schools are in any event oversubscribed and cannot even accommodate all the local kids.

    • Anonymous says:

      I would expect any of the families evacuated here who are professionals from the financial services sector who can afford private education will do just that while they are here, assuming that they can find spaces. If not, they may home-school their kids. I would expect this generous and decent offer will largely be taken up by those genuinely in need.

    • Anonymous says:

      Cry me a river! Have some compassion you whinning, selfish moron. Put yourself in their shoes! Their homes have been destroyed, twice and they need a helping hand until they get back on their feet. How would you feel, seriously? Well, if it were me I would hope that someone would step up and help me and my family. Money isn’t everything and whether or not these people can afford private schooling is neither here nor there. They have been through a traumatic event and need a bit of stability without having to think and worry about their child’s education suffering. Please, have some compassion and empathy for these hurricane survivors.

      • Anonymous says:

        No need for insults for it discredits allegedly good nature of your comment.

      • Oh Boy! says:

        Dear Cry me a River, of all the comments I read yours is the one that I humbly endorse wholeheartedly. Some of the other ones could only have been made by people who did not suffer very much from Hurricane Ivan for no one, no one could have gone through that and not have sympathy for the people of those islands. Some of those places are hit over and over again by hurricanes and they do not even have a chance to recover before they are hit again. God has spared us AGAIN this year for it could have been our islands and we can only expect His blessings from such an act as reaching out to others in dire need. The trauma of a hurricane is unbelievable. We have to sacrifice at times like this. Our government is not perfect we all know that and none of them is capable of running a government really, but be that as it may they are trying and they are spending our money – let’s support them for God makes His sun to shine on all of us and that is a blessing!!!
        Pray that our children and their children and their children’s children will continue to reap blessings from our usual kindheartedness that has always summed up the meaning of “Caymanian”. I pray for those who have not been treated fairly and hope that they will get a better break going forward. Please, God, be with us and spare us all from this active hurricane season is my sincere prayer.

  14. Anonymous says:

    So proud to be a Caymanian.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Hope the forms will be dealt with expeditiously, and not like he has dealt with other matters as Truancy Officer. When will matters of importance have priority??

  16. Anonymous says:

    Good stuff here CIG / Dart and others involved. Let’s welcome our fellow human beings in this time of dire need!

    • Concerned says:

      From what I gather these children /families had a good life in their respective countries better than some Caymanian families/children . Even though when Ivan destructed Cayman where were these BDOTC to offer help to our children or help was offered which was refused by the then Govt. Cayman has too much social issues and crimes at the moment to be tackling other countries problems.

      • Angel says:

        As a parent I am of course pleased that we are willing to reach out and assist they ensuring our neighboring Caribbean children will not have their studies interrupted by these disasters. But I have a friend here who had bring herDaughters here age 12 and 8 reason been is because of Health issues with the older one who is getting medical care at Health City Hopital the doctor til them that the child would be needing to get care both here and Miami because of her Spine. .So both parents who is here decided to do amendment and try getting them in government school ..immigration call them and ask for the letter formy school because that is needed so they can grant the ammendment when they go to the Education Department they told them that he is sorry about their daughter conditions but they have to enroll in private school so because of that the amendment was refuse it was unfair and these children were born here to expats

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