(CMR) Some 137 new educators, including 37 newly qualified Caymanians, have joined the Cayman Islands education system for the new school year. The new teachers also include 14 mathematics specialists.
Minister of Education Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, speaking at the Annual Education Professionals Welcome event on Friday, 18 August, said the decision was taken to hire 14 math specialists based on poor performance in the subject area.
Recent data showed that less than half of Year 6, 11, and 12 students achieved the expected standard in math. In the standard assessment tests, only 42% of pupils in Year 6 reached the standard, while 39.7% of students in Year 11 and 48% in Year 12 attained level two mathematics.
The minister said she looked at the data and was not happy with the performance of students in mathematics, and the decision was taken to get math specialists.
“Those 14 specialist math teachers are not to play musical chairs in the primary schools. It means that They are going into each and every primary school class, and they are going to be the ones who are going to be teaching math because that's their specialty. I intend to see the next level of performance, the outputs, greatly increased,” O’Connor-Connolly stated.
She said it does not mean teachers in the schools are not appreciated, but there is a need that has to be addressed.
“We know that math is weak. I am not one of those ministers who is going to use statistics to pretend: ‘Well, it's 5 percent better than the last minister.' Who cares? I want to make sure that those students, my children, that are coming out of our public school system will be able to stand head and shoulders anywhere in the world and be excellent at math,” the minister added.
This number of new teachers in the education system is likely to increase as recruitment is ongoing, acting chief officer for the Minister of Education Lyneth Monteith said.