2018 Year 11 exam results down from last year

| 21/12/2018 | 97 Comments
Cayman News Service

Layman E. Scott Sr. High School

(CNS): Students skills and knowledge in the government high schools on Grand Cayman have been judged to be significantly below expected levels in the three core subjects of English, maths and science. In a summary report of 2018 secondary school inspections, the Office of Education Standards paints a bleak picture for students at government schools, and inspectors point to weak quality of teaching and a repetitive, insufficiently challenging the curriculum. Year 11 external exam result at the Layman Scott High School on Cayman Brac dropped sharply from last year’s 83.3% of students with five or more Level 2 passes, down to 71.4%, but this remained significantly higher than the two high school on Grand Cayman, both of which were also down from 2017.

Cayman News Service

Cayman News ServiceThe latest report is a summary of the three individual inspection reports published in October for Clifton Hunter, John Gray and the Layman E. Scott High School in Cayman Brac, which, although it had slightly overall better results than the schools on Grand Cayman, was still judged just satisfactory.

The inspectors recommend that to ensure an improved and sustained rate of students’ academic progress, the education ministry and school leaders should review performance management and self-evaluation arrangements in all the three schools.

“The quality of teaching and the curriculum offered at Key Stage 3 are not yet at the required standard to guarantee ongoing improvement to students’ attainment in core subjects,” the authors of the summary report warn.

Inspectors said that they had observed 289 lessons over the duration of the inspections in the three schools. All teachers present in each of the schools across all subject areas were visited at least once.

“Across the three schools there was a relatively high proportion of weak teaching,” the inspectors found. While they also saw good work from some teachers in the certain subjects teaching in the core subjects was much more variable.

Cayman News Service

A grade of ‘satisfactory’ is the minimum standard, while ‘good’ is the expected standard

“There remained too many sessions in which the pace of learning was too slow because teachers lost time managing low level disruption by a few students,” the report stated. Inspectors noted that the content of the lesson was not always well adapted by the teachers to the different learning needs of students in the classes.

“Expectations were not sufficiently high because students were given simple tasks such as copying or completing undemanding worksheets. Consequently, students were at times bored and became
disengaged in their lessons. Furthermore, teachers’ questioning of students in lessons was too frequently noted to be superficial and did not effectively promote students’ critical thinking skills,” the authors wrote.

Concerns were also raised about marking, which was described as “frequently cursory with no clear indication to students about what they needed to do to improve their work”.

The inspectors also raised questions about the accuracy of grading. “The work completed by students and reviewed by inspectors during the three inspections did not reliably reflect the assessment grades allocated to students by different teachers. Parents, in communication with inspectors, expressed concern regarding the assessment systems in the schools and many felt that the system of levels and grading used by staff required review and simplification,” the inspectors noted, recommending that school leaders introduce more reliable and robust assessment practices to help monitor students’ progress.

The summary report also includes the full stakeholder surveys from all three schools showing the contrasting views of students, staff and parents. Three hundred and ten parents and 187 staff, including teachers, administrative and support staff completed the survey, as well as 1,495 students from Years 7 to 12 across the three schools.

See the full report in the CNS Library

Cayman News Service

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Category: Education, Local News

Comments (97)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    SO SAD!!!!
    And yet our stupid Ministers ain’t trying to do nothing ato try & help with the system.
    XXXXX sends their children to private schools. So that’s why they not business with the public schools. Poor children just leaves school with their attendance certificates, not been able to get a job in their own country.
    Which caused them to turn down the wrong roads. Either guns, gangsters or using/selling drugs. When is so sad, it breaks my heart to see so many young boys especially that’s using cocaine. My days growing up in Cayman it only use to be the older generation using that crap, which I don’t feel it’s right no human to use. Growing up in that environment that’s an awful thing for families to have to go through

  2. Trade Schools? says:

    Where are the Tech-Voc Schools or Apprenticeship Schools? This island is seriously lacking a Trade School.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Need to be taught to read and multiply first. Then the answer is apprenticeships, not more expensive infrastructure to teach skills best learned on the job.

  3. Anonymous says:

    And yet somehow, this terrible raw supply is meant to offer enough prospects for accountants, attorneys etc that there is no need to recruit from abroad…Dream on.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    There are lies, damned lies, and then there’s statistics. In terms of raw numbers, Layman Scott will always outperform the other high schools due to smaller student-teacher ratios. Also, the high schools in Grand Cayman inherit a disproportionate amount of students who have not mastered basic skills that should have covered in primary school. Rather than beat up the high schools, focus should be placed on the primary schools and the challenges that they face.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Children are not investments unless you expect them to pay dividends.
    Independence and decision making abilities are the most important traits. Parents who hover over and intrude in every aspect of their children’s life are a big part of the problem society is facing today. It is as bad as having no parental involvement.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The problem in Cayman is not enough parents hover over and intrude in every aspect of their children’s life. All Caymanian parents need to start kicking ass and making sure their children work hard in school and do their homework every night.

      More Caymanian parents need to get involved directly in their chidren’s education.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Of course, and when they fail at something, just lower the bar so their self esteem and entitlements in life can be protected.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Can anyone ask their children what they want to do when they grow up? What did they say? I want to be a doctor?
    I want to drive fast cars and motorcycles is what I get from some of my grandkids. Where can they go to learn to be a mechanic? We need a trade school ladies and gentlemen.
    This is why they are not interested in school learning, they are bored to death.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    But you’ll always have Dart. And a dock. And sunny skies and water. Lots of water. So party on and y’all keep counting your money.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    You need better teachers in some areas. Why doesn’t that get fixed right away? You need class discipline. This is an issue everywhere. Pick a proven plan and get started and stick with it. Pull the incorrigible out of regular class and teach them separately as best you can. How long are you going to kick this can down the road? Your curriculum is not good enough. Just get a better curriculum. This is not hard. It is useless to complain about bad parents. That is the one thing you can’t do anything about anytime soon.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Hire more CayJams. They bring a high level of tolerance and that is the name of the game in the 21st century. Who cares if students learn anymore, they only need to learn that social justice warriors will have their back when they start their crime sprees.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Imagine taking just 10% of the money proposed for the useless new dock and investing it into the education system. If done right, would it be more impactful?
    Key words: if done right

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    • Anonymous says:

      Nothing to do with money. Just waste and incompetence. Government schools spend more per head than private schools. Yes, there are special needs kids who need more money spent on them, but the average healthy kid has more spent on them at government schools than their counterparts at either Prep or St Ignatius, and if you count the spend on buildings, CIS. Heads should have been rolling for years. The fact is it is getting worse, not better. Just hand it to the private sector and be done with it!

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  11. Dave Derby says:

    Rubbish reporting once again of grades, the population needs to be made aware of the starting point at which kids enter Government high schools and see their CAT scores and then compare to what they achieve by year 11. This tells a very different picture of how hard the teachers actually work to push children to higher achievement. Yes not international high standards but you cannot make a silk purse from a pigs ear.
    As for private school grades, what do you expect when people pay thousands of dollars, they “miraculously “ care about the education of their children which started with them teaching their kids to read and write before they started school, not sitting on their arse smoking weed all day in many cases.

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    • Jotnar says:

      Your explanation doesn’t really explain the assessment of teaching skills though, does it? Whichever way you cut it over 25% of the classes observed found to be weak. And saying they start with a low bar because of what they inherit from primary school raises the obvious question as to what is going on at that level.

      Parenting and the natural ability of the children are all potential contributors to poor grades, but whilst there is a limit to what government can do about either of those the quality of teaching is a controllable factor. Show me poor grades but first class teaching and you can at least say we are trying. Paying all teachers a bonus when you have results that indicate more than a quarter of them are either bad at their job or not trying is symptomatic of populist politics rather than leadership.

      • Anonymous says:

        Jotnar, one of the problems at the high schools is that students of all different abilities are lumped together in the same classes; a lot of those students have special needs but there are not enough trained special needs teachers to cater for these children. Add to that mix a handful of belligerent children who have made up their minds that they don’t want to learn and would much rather disrupt learning for everyone (teachers are told that they cannot send those children out of the class and must therefore find ‘alternative’ strategies for coping with said children). When you consider just these factors alone (let alone other factors), teachers end up having to teach to the lowest common denominator which would explain why teaching was viewed as weak.

        Sometimes it’s hard for John Public to understand the factors that contribute to our horrible education system. That’s why more people need to visit the schools and view for themselves while getting firsthand accounts from the teachers who are working hard to fit the square pegs they’ve been given into the round holes which they’re told to fit them.

        • Anonymous says:

          Lumping them together is called diversity. The dumb kids get to learn how to study from the smart kids, and the smart kids learn how to dance and swear. Its a win-win.

  12. Anonymous says:

    A national disgrace. Will be the undoing of the PPM in the next election.

    Last time they could blame an “independent”. This time it’s squarely on them.

    Time to elect a party that will fix this.

    (Note to Caymanian grade school kids: a square is a shape with four equal sides).

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    • Anonymous says:

      Hello mr or ms sarcastic comment. Please check your basic geometry definitions before posting incorrect statements. Credibility: lost.

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      • Anonymous says:

        @9:24 That was sarcastic or YOU failed basic math.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Took me a minute to think through but you’re right. 4 equal sides is a rhombus. (At least it was in Caymanian grade school class, which took a while to remember back to.) The angles don’t have to be 90 degrees. – Still is it seems: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhombus

      • Anonymous says:

        True geometry is learned by varying and relaxing definitions. How do you think non-euclidean geometry was discovered. We don’t want teachers who teach any topic like it is the bible. Expertise, Professionalism, Intelligence, Humility, Logic: You never had it -so you think we want somebody like you teaching.

    • Anonymous says:

      Rhombus, anyone?

  13. Anonymous says:

    Do the politicians actually care? Their own kids aren’t affected ….

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Can we just close them all down and be given vouchers to send our kids to private schools, including overseas? That would save money and ensure our children receive a much higher quality of education, immediately. Stop experimenting with our future!

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    • Anonymous says:

      What would happen to government teachers ? Who have put there time and effort into educating children. It’s not the teachers faults but a fault upon the parents who are rasing the child

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    • Anonymous says:

      Can you show any country in the world where vouchers (under whatever name) have resulted in universal (a) price reduction and (b) grade/quality increase? – Or does it always come down to the quality of the school the kids end up at and turn out that the free market is terrible at setting educational standards? (Because of geography, etc., education is not a ‘fair’ market.)

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      • Anonymous says:

        Think outside the box. Assess all children equally. Let them compete for places, on merit, not wealth. Let the schools compete with one another. Give parents a choice.

      • Anonymous says:

        Two major solutions would be to increase the number of trained special needs teachers and expel the recalcitrant teenagers who are intent on disrupting teaching and learning.

  15. Concerned Parent says:

    Are you honestly surprised with the leadership we have as for the children and parents was at a recent soccer tournament where over aged children were used to win and saw parents openly encouraging their children to use violence against other children right under the noses of officials who did absolutely nothing about it When basic unfair practices or cheating is allowed at the primary level what do we expect at the high school level this little island’s public schools is failing our children badly.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    I think this section of the article is the key:

    “There remained too many sessions in which the pace of learning was too slow because teachers lost time managing low level disruption by a few students.”

    Now, what has changed such that the general trend is that teachers couldn’t control the disruptive students? Does this distill down to a lack of consequences for those disruptive students, or is it more students that chose to be disruptive? Or something else? Serious question.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Parents also failing their kids. Some of them are only taught how to fight fellow students and teachers. By the time they settle down to be taught the classes are over. Stop blaming the schools and teachers and discipline your kids.

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  17. Ronnie Ebanks says:

    Whilst, it is curious to see a dip, the big picture is that there have been massive gains in the last 15 years when the percentage of students who gained 5 or more Level 2 passes was much more like 15%. Now we have kids in the government system not only getting 5 or more but getting 10 top grades and these kids have the opportunity to go onto private schools for sixth form education, funded by the government. Inspection criteria and grading is just one part of the picture, you need to look at the whole journey and then ask yourself “how can I specifically contribute to the continued forward movement”. Let’s not worry too much about the eb and flo of different year groups but consider how the islands can continue an upward momentum. Here are some suggestions: help kids to learn to read, support fund raising for overseas trips, provide lunches for a kid for a year, organize fun events for families to relieve stress and support parents, believe and support the teachers, celebrate the wins.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    The whole problem is because white people taught black people to beat and spank their kids. So the black kids are abused and have a hard time at school.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    Lets ignore simple things like cell-phones and only work on big ideas like bigger buildings. Bigger is always better, this should be our new mantra.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    We need to lessen the discipline, and reward bullies, and have more fun days at the track where nothing is learned.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    Not surprise the children have too much breaks like mid term and end of term which adds up to about 3 weeks. For the last of school closes at 1pm sharp.
    The education system has alot of issues .
    1. Children DO NOT COME HOME WITH TEXT BOOKS for the parent to reinforce the lesson taught. The teachers have been programed to say” the children are losing the books, the books are heavy and the books are outdated. Parents should be given the option to purchase the TEXT book. This is rhe case on the primary and high school level. 😑
    2. The teaches stops teaching about 1 or 2 weeks before the excessive breaks and our kids are not getting adequete time to master the lessons.
    3. Teacher dont have control over some children because the class size are too big and they are not trained to handle trouble children (I believe there is no such thing as a troubled child). Our children have to much energy to sit down for long periods of time. If a child is fidgety and disruptive, the teachers should find why to engage and not have a low tolerance on handing them. I have attending seminars held at the hospital and about 7 PRIVATE school teachers attended. So think about that!!!!
    4. Parents need to be INVOLVE. It is very sad when about 20% of the parents attend meeting held by the school and the faithfull few are fully intune and support the school. Not a jab, but the school need more FATHERS to STEP UP.
    5. Our goverment has a system where the PTA to constantly raising funds to.support basic needs of the school. I am a big supporter that we should depend on govt for everything but if education is free let the public know what is actually funded and implement measures to offset the strain on the school to make ends meet. How about the amount of effort put in the port but invested in the schools.
    The issues of our education is systemic and everyone has a part the child, parent, teachersal and government. We need to look on all rhe variables and clean up the effieciencies.

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    • Anonymous says:

      1. My parents never got involved with my homework. I had a drive to learn.
      2. Controversial
      3. Agree
      4. A wishfull thinking. If It happens, it happens, if not, never will.
      5. Think of schools 100 years ago. Paper, pencil and good teachers was all that was needed.
      France and soon the UK has banned cell phones at schools..

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    • Anonymous says:

      I see populism is errr popular.

      1. Text books not brought home. Yeah, great idea, if only classes had a text book in the first place, or if they do, there are enough to give to all students. Btw, purchasing a book is always an option.

      2. The breaks are needed. Reduce the breaks, see even more staff absenteeism. As for no lessons for two weeks before a break, nah. The last week maybe, but this is for many reasons: student absences, various school events, staff burnout, student expectations that they’re not going to do much – you might want to try teaching 20 students hell bent on not learning first.

      3. You’re very wrong. There is such a thing as a troubled child. Kids who obviously self harm, kids who are abused at home, kids who are targeted by older men, kids who have no boundaries for behavior due to non existent parenting.

      Most teachers should be trained to deal with different kinds of learning needs. I can speak for teachers from the UK. They receive plenty of training on SEN.

      4. Yes, more parents need to be on board, but attending a meeting isn’t always an option. Support is better when they ask their child about their day. Look in their planner, ensure their uniform is good, give them a breakfast that doesn’t involve Doritos, communicate with teaching staff on a regular basis.

      Unfortunately, many dads are not on the scene.

      5. Plenty of money is spent on education, just that a lot is squandered. The new schools are ridiculous designs that add little value when the extra costs are factored in.

      To address other comments. Don’t judge one year against an overall trend. These are organic variations. One cohort will have better/worse students than another.

      As for the blame game. Kids are in the school system for 11/12 years. Changes take years to filter through. Schools here are hamstrung by traditionally low literacy rates. Private schools cherry pick the brightest and richest kids.

      There are many excellent students here in Cayman, there are many excellent teachers. There are a fair few weak teachers who need removing, but this is difficult when recruiting and retaining good staff is almost impossible.

      Things are getting better than before.

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  22. Ron Ebanks says:

    I wonder if the low achievements are the same in private Schools ?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Of course not – but would be great would be for inspectors to run the same inspection on every school in Cayman, private and public. We should be told the results. That would force all schools to be competitive and for fair comparison to be made.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Go deh Cayman Brac.
    Went to CBHS myself but live in gcm now. Best school hands down, don’t mean to be bias but the numbers talk.

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  24. Anonymous says:

    The only way to get the deadbeat parents focused is with the immediate introduction of proper and meaningful school fees.

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    • Anonymous says:

      If they are deadbeat, wouldn’t they just not pay the fees and then the kids don’t go to school?

      Or do we add a CIG Dept. to garnish their wages? (Which if they’re deadbeats they may not have but lets let that slide.)

  25. Anonymous says:

    In other words we have not only imported most of our teachers, we have imported crap teachers.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Imported from neighboring islands so racist can feel comfortable. Its a cultural thang.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Crap teachers from “crap countries” , what do you expect. Fake teachers sponging off the good teachers energy, exhausting the good teachers until they can barely perform like they once did and are forced in some manner to leave with a form of PTSD.

      No wonder every now and then an imported teacher from a 1st world country just works one day and decides to leave that same day.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I am puzzled by the thumbs down. The report says the teachers are crap. Most are imported. What do you infer is the true picture? Are the teachers actually great, and the report wrong?

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      • Anonymous says:

        I tumbsed down but in retrospect over-red the statement and went to the ‘blame certain groups because I don’t like them’ implication. Hence the thumbs down. You’re right the report says what it says. And doesn’t say what what (some of) we are thumbsing down.

    • Anonymous says:

      Are u blaming teachers for the lack of guidelines and morals of the children, which should come from the parent raising the child
      It is not the fact that public schools have “better” teachers – it’s that the children have stronger guidelines by parents and rules within the school . If parents , especially caymanians and Jamaicans put down their weed and countless of other drugs and payed more attention to the development of there child their education would be better. Better yet the drug survey would show better results through minors , as they wouldn’t be exposed to such drugs at a young age
      Public school teachers aren’t crap it’s the parents who are to blame , and also u cannot expected everyone to be the brightest person ever – as students are naturally smarter than others , as long as they are trying their best that is all that should matter

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  26. Anonymous says:

    What an unbelievable disgraceful state of affairs. As mediocre as things were 30 years ago, they were better than they are now.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yup, run by first world teachers with first world exams. Threw it all away to have CXC’s. Not bad exams, but nothing like the respect of the international gcse we would (and should) have.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Wasn’t that mediocre 30 years ago. Was actually comparable with first world international standards. Of course the students came from a wide strata of society, and the teachers, if not local, tended to come from Europe and North America.

  27. Lo-Cal says:

    Bah!

    Here we are again! Failing our future due to bad policy and practice. Why does government not sub out education to private schools which are doing much better at educating our kids.

    Sometimes i wonder if the suppression of Caymanians is by design. Expat kids can only attend private schools, those schools are doing better than GOV, same kids get status eventually, they have better education and therefore better job prospects. ( I guess they are Caymanians at this point) with surnames like Waskiak or Mulan. what happens to the rest?

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    • Waskiak, Ivanov Korhonen says:

      I doubt it is by design. Inept government has made the country inept.

      Just look WHO is running Ministry of education today! In a real world this person wouldn’t have been trusted with a teacher assistance position.

      What about Chief Officer? Complete lack of relevant education and progressively responsible relevant work experience.

      What about Deputy Chief Officer, Acting Deputy Chief Officer and others??
      Since the ministry of education site has been “Last Updated: 2013-06-14” , it is impossible to know.

      P.S. I was reading that trainees are being hired for the air controller positions and wondering that you can’t train just anyone for such a position. A friend of mine had applied in the US and was only one selected out of 100 candidates, based on the numerous tests. His mental model was evaluated, as well as situation awareness, decision making, information processing, long term memory, working memory, etc.
      How many Caymanian kids coming out of public schools would pass these tests if they fail in basic fundamentals of education?

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      • Anonymous says:

        AND YET our current government has increased salaries for teachers without performance criteria.

        There might be many great teachers but when it comes to working with ‘Caymanian’ children there is a don’t care attitude. In the public schools since majority of teachers are from Jamaica, they look out for their own… more assistance from year one, after school assistance for their ‘people’ using the school and its resources and less reporting of difficult Jamaican or Jamaican connected students.

        These practices are common across the board when it comes to using local resources…. look at education and sports, the focus is not on Caymanian students who need it, have the potential but focus on helping their own Jamaicans. In the private schools we have the same scenario, assistance and segregation based on nationality.

        Get to the root of the issue then we might see a difference in the grades.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s not by design, it was done without forethought. Typical of people who do what they want and don’t listen to all the pros and cons. My children are Caymanian now and attend private school. We have to pay what some pay as a mortgage for a whole year for this schooling. We are involved in every aspect of their life because we are invested in our children. Invested our love, time, and obviously money. I think that’s what lacks with kids that attend the public schools here, parents aren’t interested or invested in their children. They just have children because that’s what they think you’re supposed to do.

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      • Lo-cal says:

        It is true that involved parents will always produce better children however as someone who grew up here in the 80s I can honestly say that some of the teachers we had from the Eastern Caribbean like St Lucia and St Vincent and Barbados showed more interest in the students than others. They also did not allow you to advance a grade until you were able to make the grade so everyone who graduated could at least read. They were also Male teachers who were able to guide young males. Some of our very own politicians went thru that system and are managing ok.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Unfortunately you are in the minority. Too many are quite happy to leave their children feral.

    • Anonymous says:

      Simply not true. There are significant numbers of non Caymanian kids in government schools.

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  28. Anonymous says:

    Grades down guns up. That’s how this works.

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  29. Anonymous says:

    Well at least the teachers got a nice raise as a reward.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Cause its their fault Caymanian Kids are slow to learn?

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      • Anonymous says:

        Who says the kids are local? Many are imports, just like their teachers.

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      • Jotnar says:

        Did you read the article?

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      • Anonymous says:

        Sadly, this is not a one sided issue

      • Anonymous says:

        Nope, its the administrators who only hire teachers that will entertain the students and will fancy the administrators. Bad Principles or Presidents are causing all the problems by not being even able to identify issues exist. They are out of touch and in denial. Well, its a job as most think.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Well, the report cited weak teaching…but I guess you failed to read the article.

        • Anonymous says:

          Weak teaching promoted by a weak administration whom fire good teachers who endanger weak teachers to be precise. A vicious and cozy cycle for some.

          • Anonymous says:

            the Department will continue to hire teachers from Jamaica but put English teachers as principals for the scapegoat as to what is happening in each class.

            Look at the head of Education, and majority of teachers…therein lies the problem.

            Stop hiring for sake of nationality and look for best teachers regardless of nationality.

          • Anonymous says:

            True, good teachers are made to feel that they are not working hard enough or that they are “showing” up incompetent teachers.

      • Anonymous says:

        How long have you known “Caymanian kids”? I’m sure you have no authority upon which to make this assumption.

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      • Richard Wadd says:

        Three points:
        1) This has NOTHING to do with ‘pace of learning’ and everything to do with the level of discipline (or lack thereof) in Public schools. THIS is what needs to be addressed FIRST, the rest is secondary.
        2) Not everyone has the ability to be a Dr or lawyer, and any modern education system that doesn’t recognize and address this is doomed to failure by design.
        3) Only a fool throws good money after a problem and then expects it to fix itself. Stop making excuses and change the Captain of the ship.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Almost everyone has the ability to get 5 CXC passes at a good grade. That is a pretty minimal standard to function in a modern society. 5 passes is well below average in any UK non selective school.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Exactly. Parents act like they are free day care.

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