JGHS goes back to drawing board

| 12/10/2017 | 42 Comments

(CNS): The Ministry of Education has signed a contract with local consultants for an outline business case, this time for the John Gray High School facility, effectively taking the project back to the drawing board. Contractors originally broke ground almost a decade ago on the project after a government contract was awarded to Tom Jones International to redevelop that school and build the new Clifton Hunter school in Frank Sound. But plagued from the offset with a well-documented myriad of problems, the school has never been finished. The latest contract will see KPMG compare possible designs and cost options from a strategic case and determine the preferred project option. 

Despite claiming that this is a priority for the new government, officials have said that construction of the new John Gray High School will not start until 2019, which means there will be no new school, even on the most optimistic timeline, before 2021.

“It is imperative that this project is completed and that the children of our country do not continue to operate in a state of flux,” said Education Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly in a release from the ministry about the latest developments in the beleaguered project. “As a country, we must ensure that the same types of world-class facilities that are extended to those that visit our islands are made available to our own children. When children feel pride for where they attend school, an increase of overall wellbeing is achieved.”

Given the changes to the process government now has to go through when it comes to spending public money, the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility, a part of the legislation governing public finances, requires major projects  follow “a rigorous process” to ensure government is utilising its funds and resources effectively. Senior Project Manager from Public Works Major Projects Office and the Ministry of Education, Jonathan Matthews, said the process has seven distinct stages.

He said these are designed to ensure projects are only taken forward at each stage if they improve government services, meet the needs of the stakeholders and represent value for money, while also maintaining affordability.

“The Ministry of Education worked with JGHS and the Department of Education Services (DES), throughout 2016, to create a Strategic Outline Case (SOC); this being Stage 1 in the process,” he said.

“The stakeholder engagement started at the outset of SOC and was paramount in developing the design criteria that will produce the optimum school design for JGHS. All possible options for completing JGHS were considered in the SOC, with the ‘Key Stakeholders’ evaluating this long-list to reduce it to a short-list of recommended project options. Cabinet approved these recommendations in February 2017 and provided the Ministry of Education with the authority to proceed to Stage 2, the Outline Business Case (OBC),” the schools project manager added.

After what was said to be an extensive procurement process, officials stated that KPMG was appointed to prepare the business case. This will involve stakeholder engagement to ensure that the wants and needs of the users of the educational facilities are understood.

Matthews said research from high-performing jurisdictions would be carried out to identify and adopt best practices for Cayman.

“The design for each of the shortlisted project options is sufficiently developed to enable the ‘whole life cycle cost’ to be calculated and compared. This is not just the cost to build the new educational facilities, but also the cost to operate them over the lifetime of the buildings. The options are compared as part of this OBC to determine the preferred and recommended project option. It is anticipated that the OBC will be complete and issued for approval in February 2018,” he stated.

Stage 3 in the process involves developing the concept design to obtain planning and Building Control Unit approval and then procure contractors who will be responsible for the construction. Officials stated that this is an involved stage and will take at least one year to complete. Prior to the execution of the contract, Stage 4, the Final Business Case (FBC) is where all of the work in the OBC and DPO will be prepared and checks made to ensure the project is still meeting the requirements of the stakeholders, represents value for money and that the public purse can still afford it. If the project gets through all those hoops, the FBC will need to be approved by Cabinet before the construction work can start sometime in 2019.

Chief Officer for Education Christen Suckoo said that once the JGHS work gets underway, the old George Hicks site will be redeveloped for CIFEC and UCCI. “This will allow for an increase in vocational qualifications for our students which meets the CIG’s objective of developing and implementing a new approach to technical and vocational education and training,” he said.

The Department of Education Services will also move there, providing a more suitable location, Suckoo noted.

JGHS Principal Jon Clark, who deals with the reality of running John Gray from the current dilapidated campus, said he was encouraged buy the recent completion of the brand new gymnasium, a part of the school that was completed separately from the main project.

“The students have already made full use of the gym by having held exams and graduation there last year and PE and whole school assemblies this year,” he said. “The students, staff, and parents will be engaged in the entire process to ensure it meets their needs and provides them with a sense of ownership. This begins this week with intensive workshops with each of the stakeholder groups.”

Meanwhile, KPMG, who will be earning something in the region of $200,000 for creating the latest OBC, said they would work with the ministry to achieve an affordable, value-for-money solution to deliver excellence in education.

“We will deliver a transparent business case to facilitate a way for the Government of our Islands to take this project forward,” said Sheenah Hislop, a partner of KPMG.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Category: Local News

Comments (42)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    It is no wonder the Cayman Islands is in such debt! Who is in charge of all this madness? The government spends money like there is no tomorrow. I once worked for someone who was the financial advisor to government. It was quite surprising when I found out the poor state that their personal finances were in – what right did they have advising a government on financial issues when they were months behind in paying their own mortgage?!!!




    0



    0
  2. Anonymous says:

    Around the planet there are small undergrad-led volunteer committees that are more organized and more financially responsible than the Cabinet of these islands that we pay to serve us.




    10



    0
  3. Anonymous says:

    This reads like a satire of useless government gobbledegook. “Stakeholders” and “end users” and other rubbish. What the hell happened here? Why is it so hard to finish the construction? Could they not just get out the original plans and follow them? If not what was the problem with those? Who screwed up and can anything be recovered from them? XXXXX god it is depressing.




    14



    1
  4. Anonymous says:

    Did anyone understand the bureaucratic-jargo-waffle that actually means nothing and caused so much torpor that we don’t know about stages 5-7.

    With nonsense like this it is incredible CIG can function to the limited extent it does.




    6



    0
  5. Anonymous says:

    “world-class facilities”, “developing and implementing”, “extensive procurement process”, “a rigorous process”, “best practises”. Yet we’re back to square one after umpteen years… these government people and their empty “buzz words”, all the while, the children don’t have a school, and you wonder why they acting up.




    15



    2
  6. Anonymous says:

    Where are they going to put all the children of impoverished PR recipients who will be entitled to free education? Plenty more coming!




    12



    10
    • Anonymous says:

      The same place your putting impoverished Caymanian (pr recipients from way back) children who are also intitled to free education, healthcare, and handouts instead of making them responsible for themselves. Plenty more of them coming from those who add nothing to the country.




      14



      2
    • Anonymous says:

      You think anyone has thought of that, and the ongoing effects, for a minute?




      6



      1
    • Anonymous says:

      PR doesn’t entitle holder to use government schools, nor would they want to. Impoverished? Have you even bothered to read the criteria for PR?




      8



      0
    • Anonymous says:

      You have no proof except what your incompetent leadership is telling you. The money to run this country and the intelligence to keep it functional is not coming from on island.




      2



      2
  7. Anonymous says:

    The problem with the CIG is that there is not accountability for wasted funds.




    16



    0
  8. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think new facilities should be built unless it includes security cameras and Government is prepared to weed out those students who are constantly destroying property and ensure their parents are held financially responsible.

    I sacrifice to send my kids to private school and I can guarantee you that they are not allowed to destroy property where they are at.

    Why should the general public fund these facilities to then have them torn apart by people who can care less. Go look at the new Gym that was built and see some of the damage already done……..




    25



    0
  9. Anonymous says:

    Pathway to Riches:

    1. Study anything
    2. Become a “Consultant”
    3. Move to Cayman and cozy up to Government
    4. Rake in exorbitant fees




    25



    3
  10. Anonymous says:

    What is a “failed project” was what they tried to do initially… a complete disaster, no structure, poorly thought-out and ridiculously over priced for what was built.
    John Gray was to follow the same design as Clifton Hunter in Frank Sound, which again… was a terrible idea, so thank God they ran out of money to finish this disaster.
    Tens of thousands of dollars spent on a “monsterous” school which STILL cannot accommodate the amount of students that attend.

    With a completely new design, this time around will hopefully be much better.




    11



    4
    • Anonymous says:

      Only tens of thousands wasted?!?




      5



      0
    • Anonymous says:

      Those responsible are still the ones in charge. In a developed country they would have lost their jobs long before they could screw it up sooooo badly. Lucky for them they live in third world. You rule Bobo.




      2



      0
  11. Anonymous says:

    Another juicy contract for a large accounting firm!




    17



    1
  12. Diogenes says:

    Caymanian short term memory on display, this project isn’t completed yet elected officials are looking to invest in a larger amount of larger capital projects. Airport expansions (which are needed) , Cruise berthing facilities ( there is an argument to be made on both sides). All the while in the process of selling off assets that are increasing in value while in a “budget surplus”. It’s like they aren’t satisfied just being incompetent and unable to do anything right they aren’t happy until the government has overextended itself and invested into multiple large projects at once. Is it too much to ask them to finish what they have started already instead of adding more things to the agenda? Yes multiple projects can be done at once it isn’t like they are only using one development group, but when attention is diverted from one large area to another there are discrepancies that go unnoticed.

    Let’s not even talk about the state of education on these islands and the lack of reliable regulated public transport for the masses. Rampant overspending and the other inadequacies concerning the government.

    Diogenes




    26



    1
    • Anonymous says:

      I said it before and I will say it again. Dio, you should be in office. Your well-balanced views are missing in the current administration.




      11



      4
      • Diogenes says:

        Currently the Caymanian electorate is concerned with other things sadly, rational plans and opinions are much less important than who you know/ are related to, and what you are willing to do for people once elected. Maybe one day




        7



        1
        • Anonymous says:

          Well, that is shameful to say the least. Keep your well-balanced views coming. I enjoy reading them. Let’s hope that over time, the less rational will take note.




          5



          1
  13. Marathon says:

    WTF does a firm of accountants know about building schools? Get PWD to make sense of the project and get it restarted. A whole dept. full of engineers and builders, and Govt wants to throw more cash at accountants? Like that’s gonna get ‘er built!!!




    32



    1
  14. Anonymous says:

    hahahahahhahha……..Caymanians planning! “Another failed project by CIG”




    19



    4
  15. SMH says:

    The schools projects including both the $110m Clifton Hunter High School and the latest fiasco with the John Gray High School after 10years of being left to rod defines the political legacy of the PPM, its former education ministers that includes the two term Premier Alden McLaughlin. They now need a case study to complete a project that was approved some ten years ago. Juliana O’Connor proves again her lack of depth and love for a sound bite. SMH

    Providing a quality education system for Caymanians is not a priority for your Caymanian leaders no matter what is written in the manifestos. The ministry of education are equally culpable for this mess. They have all bought into the concept that expensive buildings will equate to quality teaching, programs, parental engagement and positive learning environments to develop all the students. They focus on the top 20% because it’s always been about the politics and not the product or students and long term development of an employable local workforce that can survive in the Cayman job market. SMH




    26



    2
  16. Mr. D says:

    We have to finish what we started. Education is Key to our countries success. Strive High go further Cayman Islands. Never give up. Always be encouraged through GOD.




    10



    2
  17. Anonymous says:

    Since they finished off the gym which this article states they are using regularly, why cant they just finish is there now and clean that crap hole up? To many people have to always get there pockets lined before anything gets done in Cayman. More bullshit PPM!




    21



    2
  18. Anonymous says:

    I am sure that there are plans and specifications available from various countries for schools which have already been constructed; why not accept one of these and build. I agree with “Observer”; enough of wasting money hiring more consultants.




    20



    2
  19. Anonymous says:

    Why build another useless building when we already have schools with better education and discipline? Use the private schools and slow down the increasing population of poor people coming into the country to take away your childrens’ future. Give a smaller amount of money to private schools to keep them going and producing a better citizen of the country who will learn respect, compassion, history, culture and still have good education where they can go to university.




    10



    8
    • Anonymous says:

      Schools do not have the responsibility to teach children respect,compassion, and integrity. Parents do. Your culture is what they learn good or bad. Caymanian children are going to school not knowing what respect is and therefore fail at learning. Not all cultures are meant to survive the modern world. Caymanian culture is not helping your children survive the future.




      15



      2
      • Anonymous says:

        So everyone is clear, lack of respect, compassion and integrity are not features of Caymanian culture!




        3



        2
    • Diogenes says:

      The private schools are outside of the government sphere, yes they have to be registered with the government and they have to meet certain government standards and licenses to operate but they are very individual when you get down to the specifics. Some of them use different systems it isn’t like they can all just be combined together to handle the government systems inadequacies. They are also mostly at or near capacity with their own students. It isn’t like they are empty now and are just waiting to be filled.

      As someone who has experienced both public and private education on Cayman I have a particular insight to some of the issues that are mentioned in conversations and ideas. But there is no way to say this without sounding like an elitist or some sort of educational separatist but It needs to be said. If you take the students from the current government schools and just push them into the private schools, you’ll quickly see the efficiency and behavioral trends of the schools start to decline toward the norms in CHHS and JGHS. The reason why the private schools have better results and behavioral records when compared to the public schools is due to the fact that they can choose who they want to educate, and if a student doesn’t meet the standards either academic or behavioral they can be asked to leave. I am not saying the private schools are perfect by any means but they do have certain advantages that the government simply cannot utilize.

      The government needs to improve the standards of education and needs to expand the current facilities that they are able to use. (The compass featured an article yesterday highlighting the Opposition’s experiences in the current gov’t schools, I know they aren’t a lot of people’s favorite publication at the minute but the article is pretty spot on (www.caymancompass.com/2017/10/12/opposition-make-education-a-priority)




      9



      0
  20. Anonymous says:

    “It is imperative that this project is completed and that the children of our country do not continue to operate in a state of flux,” said Education Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, yet she has been in the echelon of the government throughout the entire time of this “millions of dollars” fiasco.

    Cayman’s short memory syndrome, woos the public perception once again.




    33



    0
  21. Nunya says:

    Great. The next step will then be to get employers who actually want to hire people that were educated here. Take a close look at the paper and you will see job ads now state “international” degree. The carrot is constantly being moved further out of reach.

    It’s time to wake up and realize it’s not the building that is the issue. Our educational standards and not up to scratch. We have laws attempting to support citizens get employed that don’t support modern recruitment practices.

    Since we like to cut and paste policies from other countries so much, take a look at the education standards of some of the countries our citizens are competing against. A prime example is the Philippines where they go to school from 7am to 4pm, don’t get to move up unless they pass and if they fail even one subject they can’t graduate. Doesn’t sound fair? Doesn’t sound humane? Doesn’t sound like their human rights are being valued? Maybe/maybe not, but they come here not just as nannies and gardeners, but as managers, accountants, nurses, etc. They are workers that are valued not because they are cheap laborers (if you think that is the case just check out what some of the nannies make), but because they work hard, are smart, don’t abuse sick days and waltz in whenever they please, etc. This mentality is partly cultural, but it is also because they had to work hard and fight to earn their education. So clearly the system of education is not JUST in making it through the years of school or even the education itself. It is in the values you gain through being disciplined, through working hard and earning what you get AND the respect you gain through that structure.

    I hate to say it but that entitled mentality is ingrained in the very systems we have in place. If a child learns for an early age that they don’t have to try in order to advance, then how are they to come into society and “fight” to get that job or that promotion?

    Wake up guys. You can claim our system is working when you start to produce children that are educated to the standard of the GLOBAL competitors they will face when entering the labour market.




    38



    1
  22. Observer says:

    Can someone please tell me why we are again spending money on consultants for the is project. The build ins were started with architecture drawings that was approved by the planning department so all we need to do is to have Public works department go through and survey the remaining works and hire a contractor or contractors to finish the buildings. I am tired of this government wasting tax payer dollars.




    31



    2
    • Anonymous says:

      This is what happens when those put in charge are not qualified to figure it out themselves. They end up with expensive information that they still don’t understand so they can not use it. You want the best hire the best. You want Caymanian get used to barely functional.




      8



      2

Please include your email address in the form below if you are using your real name. You can use a pseudonym, with or without leaving an email address, or just leave the form blank to be "Anonymous". All comments will be moderated before they are published. Please read the CNS Comment Policy at the top of this page.