Minister: Education won’t be political football

| 14/11/2017 | 31 Comments
Cayman News Service

Education Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly answers questions in Finance Committee, Nov 2017

(CNS): Following her silence in the budget debate, Education Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly told the members of Finance Committee Friday that, if needed, she would get more cash for education. Facing a long day of questions, the minister stated several times that while she “was at the wheel” she would not allow education to become a political football. Before answering the first questions about the subject, she said that she had allowed the ministry staff to put the budget together because they were on the ground and in the classrooms.

With the opposition making education their weapon of choice against the government, the minister was asked what she believed success would look like with the increase in the budget. O’Connor-Connolly said her vision was a world class education for all. In addition to recruiting the best teachers, investment in school infrastructure was important, she stated.

She said that ministry was going to take the budget that had been allocated and “do the best that we can” but said it would “go much further if parents, the private sector and government” did their part. However, she told the committee that she felt she had the support of the rest of government and “that if it is deemed necessary we have the support to go back” for more funds. 

O’Connor-Connolly said she believed that the requisite finance would come, but she also thought the private sector would come on board and give back to the community. She also stressed the need for parents to ensure the acceptable behaviour of children at school and said she had some concerns about discipline, which would be an area she would pay close attention to. She said she wanted to ensure there were no human rights barriers to dictate how students wore their uniforms and hair for school. 

Speaking about the new Cayman Islands Education Council, she said she was confident that the composition of members was well balanced and she was not concerned that they would make any extravagant, biased or unfounded recommendations that could push the boundaries of the budget. 

Faced with a number of questions about various issues, she surprised the opposition when she agreed to wipe out certain fees and said she would be looking at the policies regarding other fees. However, she did direct parents to priorities the need to pay some fees over “pedicures, manicures and getting their hair done”.

She also said that she supported the reintroduction of the 6th form and that it was now under consideration.

The minister said change was coming to education to provide world class standards, but she also said the Ddepartment of Education Services would be raising awareness about the positive things that have already been happening.

The committee also heard that the apparent cut to the secondary school budget, as noted by the opposition leaders, was down to the education department no longer paying the insurance for the schools infrastructure as it had been centralized.

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Category: Education, Government Finance, Local News, Politics

Comments (31)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Blame the expats, blame the fake news that education in Cayman needs more funding, blame lack of resources, blame the parents, blame the students. It all boils down to the same thing, no one wants to take responsibility and in Cayman no one needs to. Just another day.

  2. Cos says:

    They do not need to throw anymore money at the schools. They just need to make parents more accountable. My daughter is JGHS grad, and her biggest impediment to learning was disruptive students, with entitled dry cleaner parents.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Didn’t she just last week beg parents (in her Finance Debate Speech) to lobby their MLAs for more Education funding?
    Isnt she the Education Minister of Cabinet???
    Why should the pressure be on the homes, when all the controls are in the hands of the system?
    And yes, there Are parents who are trying with their children, often in spite of the failings of the public school system.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Blah!! Blah!! Blah!! Talk is cheap!!! Let us see action Ms. Minister!!!! Then I believe you .

  5. anonymous says:

    It’s already a political football and you just became the striker

  6. Anonymous says:

    I would not want to give one more cent to education until they drain the swamp of do nothing department heads blocking progressive ideas and bloated administrators with their awards ceremonies and cupcake parties.

    There are plenty of teachers with years of experience who should now be in administrative roles with all their wisdom. This is not happening because the current cliques in charge are using their positions of power and access to information to deter experienced and upcoming employers from even having a chance and will instead hire their buddies outside of an organization to keep the “leaders” away from all criticism.

    I am glad I work in the private sector because I am surprised there is not more lititgation againt some nasty people trying to hang onto a thread of power so they can continue their charade.

  7. Red Ranger says:

    I guess Julianna finally deduced Jesus can’t drive.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Schools are not the problem, other kids go to school and learn well. Its not the money you throw at it, Other kids make do with much less and learn well. You are already spending much more then a private school takes per student and what have you got? What is the difference you might ask. Culture: Basically what the kids are brought up to believe in. Are Caymanian kids brought up to value a good education before they are old enough to go? Do they learn self respect so they can then respect others and earn respect so they can function in a modern society? Are they brought up with the expectation that they will be a fireman, Carpenter, Farmer, or some other kind of skilled worker?If not then they don’t deserve to function in a modern society and they won’t.

    • Anonymous says:

      Read the Cayman Islands Youth policy,:
      “..Our greatest responsibility in this life is to be good ancestors. “;
      “.. ‘Youth’ is not a term that lends itself easily to definition. Social scientists from
      Freud and Ericksson..”Blah,Blah
      “…The Jamaica / Cayman Relationship…” What????
      so it goes on and on and on with these crap to arrive:
      “..When asked what values young people should have, a strong majority indicated that
      religious, moral and educational values, were of greatest importance”‘.
      Statistics, more statistics, more numbers…

      You can’t make it up. This is, allegedly, a NATIONAL Youth Policy.

      I’ll finish with the ….
      Goal A: The acquisition of personal and social identity by all young men
      and women of the Cayman Islands. (page 63)

    • Anonymous says:

      True but what is also needed is teachers who actually believe our children are worth teaching and stop post haste treating them with disrespect. Being actually able to teach and having a love of imparting knowledge should be a prerequisite.

  9. Anonymous says:

    beach bums and go-go dancers!??

  10. Anonymous says:

    Education will not be a political football. Football won’t be funded. Ergo, Education wont be funded and will be a political football.

    • Anonymous says:

      Get your facts straight. The Cayman education system is funder twice as much as other countries such as the USA and UK. It is not more funding that is needed, but a Performance Management System that actually works. It needs to hire high quality people from first world countries and stop this minute allowing family and church allegiance colour decision making.

  11. Anonymous says:

    David said we must float the dock to float education,what a mess .sounds like if there’s no dock education will take wings.lord help us.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Julie is just like Mac – will say and do anything to get a headline

    • Boggy Sound man says:

      Lets see her kick that football! What a blow bag as she has no intention of doing a damn thing but collect her paycheck as her past record speaks for her performance.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Money is one thing. What are they going to do with it is another. Education in this country is in dire need for FUNDAMENTAL changes. Nobody knows what needs to be done and how it needs to be done. When you don’t know what you don’t know, you won’t achieve much.

    • Anonymous says:

      Some teachers know exactly what needs to be done, the others are just there to gain popularity with the students which is causing all the problems to get worse or be ignored.

      How about starting with the simple things…like not allowing students to jam their music and hang out in the parking lot disrupting the whole university. Its so simple, yet it is beyond comprehension how to implement from the higher-ups and they would never be proactive enough to suggest the idea from their ivory tower. In fact, they will fight this because it means losing their popularity with the little angels.

    • Anonymous says:

      Two students graduate from the same high school one goes on to college and becomes successful. The other one ends up in Northward. I think parents have as large a part to play as the schools but no one wants to hear this.

      • Anonymous says:

        I agree with you but we are also talking about voters thus the soft sell approach.Politicians don’t want to offend voters for being non existent parents raising antisocial children.

    • Anonymous says:

      There are people who know what is needed, but unfortunately those in position of power do not listen.

  14. Diogenes says:

    Politicians are generally good at speaking and sounding great hypothetically, that is how they get elected. I want to see the actual results and the changes made to education policy along with legislative reforms. To quote one of my favorite fiction series “Words are wind” and most politicians are filled with hot air, I don’t give them much credit for saying what everyone agrees with in a public forum I care about what gets done behind the closed doors and in the offices of the administration.

    You have 2 years till the next budget cycle and debate Minister, impress us.


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