1. Terminology

2. Typology of provision

2.1 State education provision 

2.2 Non-state education provision 

2.3 Other types of schools 

3. Governance and regulations

3.1 Regulations by distinct levels of education

3.2 Multi-level regulations 

3.3 Supplementary private tutoring 

  1. Terminology

The Education Law (2016) regulates the education provision in the Cayman Islands from pre-primary level to tertiary education for ‘independent schools,’ ‘assisted schools,’ and ‘government school’. The 2016  Education Law defines an ‘independent school’ as a ‘funded school managed from resources other than the Government’, and an ‘assisted school’ is referred to as a partly funded school but not managed by the Government.

  1. Typology of provision

2.1 State education provision

State schools

In the Cayman Islands, primary (six years, beginning at age five), lower secondary education (four years, beginning at age 11), and upper secondary (three years, beginning at age 14) state schools represents 48% of educational institutions - 11 primary schools and three secondary education schools. Compulsory and free education covers primary and lower secondary education (ages 5-17).

The Government introduced a compulsory Year 12 for all students in 2010. Some Year 12 students in Grand Cayman have to attend private schools for their final year; they receive scholarships for this to cover the cost of school fees’ (P. 31).

Cayman residents and their dependents are given priorities for enrolment in public schools. Caymanians represent 90% of those enrolled therein.

Non-state managed, state schools

No information was found. 

Non-state funded, state schools

No information was found. 

2.2 Non-state education provision

Independent, non-state schools

Private schools are called ‘independent schools’ in the Caymanian regulations. They are established, managed, and financed by private actors (sole proprietorship, General or Limited Partnership, Limited by Guarantee, Limited by Shares or Non-Profit Organization). These schools represent 52% of educational institutions, with 15 educational institutions currently licensed and operating within the Cayman Islands. Some of these schools include Montessori schools, international schools, and Christian schools. Private schools must include the mandatory subjects in the curriculum, but may include additional learning material and typically follow the American or English curriculum. 

There were 17 private schools in 2019, (all on Grand Cayman) 9 cover primary and secondary education and the remaining 8 cover only primary education. According to the 2019 data report, 8241 students were enrolled in compulsory education: 49% female; 51% male. Of the total mandatory school age population, 44% of the students were enrolled private schools and 56% in public schools. This reflects a 1 percentage point (pp) increase over the 2018 figures. At the primary level, 46% (up 2pp) and 54% were enrolled in private and public education respectively while at the secondary level, the figure stood at 42% (up by 1pp) and 58% for private and public schools respectively. At the primary level, 44% students of mandatory school age attend private schools while 56% are in public education. For the secondary schools, 41% and 59% are in private and public education respectively. On average, 43% and 57% of mandatory school age attend private and public schools respectively

State-funded (government-aided), non-state schools

Assisted schools are partly funded schools but not managed by the Government (Education Law 2016).  The Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture and Lands (MEYSAL) is in charge of dictating the terms and conditions applicable to any grant based on the difference in provisions by category of school and the levels of need. According to the 2020 Financial Year Plan and Estimate, all schools must comply with the minimum requirements for establishing a private school in order to be eligible to receive government funding. Requirements include being registered at the Education Council, submitting their financial statements, and an external inspection by the Office of Education Standards in which they must receive a minimum inspection grading of ‘Satisfactory’. The Office of the Auditor General (2019) specifies that funding is allocated in two ways; half is a grant of equal amount to each assisted school, and the other half is allocated as a variable grant based on student enrollment. According to the Plan and Estimate for the 2020 Financial Year in 2020, between two-five public and private schools qualify for financial assistance, 2021 increased to five-ten educational institutions. 

Contracted, non-state schools

No information was found. 

2.3 Other types of schools


According to the 2016  Education Law and the 2017  Education Regulations,  homeschooling is a legal option for parents or legal representatives to educate their children. The Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture and Lands (MEYSAL) regulates homeschooling and requires parents or legal representatives to register their children at the MEYSAL and follow the established guidelines. If noted that a programme no longer meets the requirements or has failed to meet the standards of progress and achievements, the Office of Education Standards may advise the Minister to request homeschool to be terminated. Due to COVID schools transfer of learning to the Homeschool modality, the Office of Education Standards developed an inspection and report of the provision of private schools. 

Market contracted (Voucher schools)

No information was found.

Unregistered/Unrecognised schools

No information was found.


  1. Governance and regulations

The Cayman Islands are one of the 14 British Overseas Territories. Education is considered as a basic right  of children and compulsory between the ages of 4 and 17. The Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture and Lands (MEYSAL) is responsible for determining the education sector's national policy and strategic direction and oversee the whole education system. Early childhood education is under the supervision of the Early Childhood Care and Education Unit within the Department of Education Services (DES) and the Education Council.   The latter is composed of a mix of private and public stakeholders. The Office of Education Standards (OES) is responsible for independently assessing and monitoring all education institutions, whether public or private. 

Vision: The Cayman Islands Strategic Plan for Education 2012-2017  focused on strengthening the Cayman Islands education system, including Government compulsory education provision, early childhood care and education centers (both private and public), as well as legislative and policy changes that will impact private schools. The Plan included the collaboration of the Department of Education Services (DES), educators, parents, and the private sector to partner and developed interventions focused on improving students outcomes.


3.1 Regulations by distinct levels of education

Private actors provide most Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) in the Cayman Islands. Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) is offered to children under five by nurseries and preschool centers. ECCE facilities are mainly categorized as ECCE private centers, ECCE Settings in Private Schools, and ECCE Settings in Public Schools - 67%, 20%, and 13% of enrolments, respectably. ECCE Private Centres are Centres owned by private individuals/companies who provide care and education services for children younger than compulsory school age;  ECCE Settings in Private Schools are Services/programmes for children under compulsory school age which are attached or affiliated with registered private schools; ECCE Settings in Public Schools are: Services/programmes for children under compulsory school age which are attached or affiliated with Government schools (i.e. Reception programme).


Registration and approval: According to the 2013  Education Council Guidelines for Early Childhood Care and Education Centers, all ECCE centers must meet the minimum requirements to obtain and maintain a registration to operate. Providers, both individuals or companies, must submit an application to the Early Childhood Care and Education Unit accompanied by the required documentation. All applications must include an educational programme, proposed staff members with their respective Certificate of License to teach in the Cayman Islands, an inspection report by the Fire Department and the Department of Environment and Health, and the approved Plans from the Planning Department, detailing the Floor Plan. The ECCE center must comply with the teacher's student ratios and the premises and facilities requirements, including space requirements for each child and toilet and handwashing facilities.  The application procedure is organized in 4 different phases as specified in the application form.

Licence: Upon approval, a Certificate of Registration will be issued by the Education Council. Certificate of Registration must be presented to the Trade and Business License Board to receive Trade and Business License and pay the required fee for the license to operate. ECCE centers must apply annually for re-registration with the prescribed documentation in order for the Certification of Registration to be valid. 

Financial operation

Profit-making: No regulation was found on the prohibition of ECCE centers to gain profit from the educational service provided. ECCE center may be established by companies with a Trade and Business License or as a Non-Profit Organisation

Taxes and subsidies: As part of the government’s strategy in early childhood education, the state provides financial assistance to parents or tutors to enroll children in public or private ECCE centers.

Quality of teaching and learning

Curriculum and education standards: ECCE centers must follow the   Cayman Islands Early Years Curriculum, but may introduce additional learning programs according to the institution's educational philosophy.

Teaching profession: The 2017  Education Regulations requires all teachers to hold the minimum early childhood and education qualifications according to their position and level. All teachers must be registered in the Teachers Registry to be employed at any ECCE center in the Cayman Islands. Regulations also include that there must be at least one person who holds a Certificate of License to Teach in the Cayman Islands for every ten unqualified staff employed. All ECCE personnel must meet the requirements of the Labour Law and the Pension Law. All members must provide a certificate from the Police Clearance.  

Equitable access

Fee-setting: No information was found on the caps or regulation on fee settings. All ECCE centers must inform the parents or tutors of the attendance fee to be charged.

Admission selection and processes: No information was found.

Policies for vulnerable groups: The Early Childhood Assistance Programme (ECAP) provides children with financial assistance for enrolment fees to ECCE centers.  Parents or tutors must apply to Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture and Lands (MEYSAL) at the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Unit, the ECAP programme assists parents/guardians with paying fees at early childhood centers for children ages three and up.

Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability

Reporting requirements: See Multi-level regulations.

Inspection: See Multi-level regulations.

Child assessment: All registered ECCE centers must implement procedures for assessing the children’s progress and the implementation of the Cayman Islands Early Years Curriculum Framework (CIEYCF).

Sanctions: The Ministry may close an early childhood center for health and safety reasons and when the ECCE fails to achieve minimum standards.


Registration and approval: The 2016  Education Law set that for any person or entity to establish an educational institution in the Cayman Islands, proprietors must apply for registration and comply with the minimum requirements set for establishment. An application must be submitted to the Education Council and include documentation on teacher qualifications, pupil/teacher ratio, the maximum number of students to be accommodated, and proper premises, including number and type of toilets and number and size of the classrooms as set in the 2017 Education Regulations. Similarly, to ECCE, the procedure for registration is made of 4 different phases of document submission and approval .This phased approach ensures the health and safety of potential students as well as assists in identifying any issues in delaying the application, ensuring statutory requirements are met with other Government agencies. The Phases are as follows: · Phase 1: Initial information that includes completed application form and information on the overarching principles of the educational institution, the curriculum that will be used, background information on the owners, and proposed location of the institution, and statutory policies required. These documents must be submitted at least six (6) months prior to the proposed opening date if no significant construction is anticipated for the proposed site, and one (1) year prior to the proposed opening date if significant construction work is anticipated for the proposed site. Note: Phase 1 approval will be valid for 12 months from the date of issue. If Phase 2 is not submitted within this time, the applicant will have to apply for an extension to the Phase 1 approval by contacting the Secretary to the Education Council Phase 2: Construction/Modification/Building Approval Phase. This Phase ensures that the site being used is safe and meets all statutory requirements of the Department of Planning, Department of Environmental Health and the Cayman Islands Fire Services. Phase 3: Staffing information and statutory requirements for staffing and requirements to allow students to enter the premises. This phase ensures that all requirements are met for the business to legally open, including the acquisition of a valid Trade and Business Licence or Non-Profit Organisations Status. The documentation outlined in Phase 3 must be submitted at least 60 calendar days prior to the anticipated start date in order to avoid delays in opening. Once Phase 3 approval is received, the institution can commence operations and open to students. Phase 4: Allows for final requirements to be obtained and submitted, and inspections to take place while students are present. Among the condition to fulfil for registration the form mentions that the classrooms should be” a minimum of 20 square feet of usable space per child and outdoor space should be a minimum of 40 square feet of useable space per child registered at the institution”.

Licence: Upon approval, a registration certificate will be issued for a valid period of three years.  Private schools must for registration renewal no later than sixty days before the date of expiration. 

Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH): The owner or board of directors in charge of the school must maintain an accurate record of health and safety which can be subject to inspections, and when fails to comply with the records or the health and safety standards can be suspended or cancelled.

Financial operation

Profit-making: No regulation was found regarding the prohibition or enabling educational institutions to profit from the provision of their educational services.  However the form to apply for registration mentions among the different types of applicants “companies (for profit)” which suggests there is no ban for schools running for-profit.

Taxes and subsidies: Private schools may apply for grants, subsidies or other types of assistance following the Ministry’s policies and guidelines in order to become an assisted school. ‘Private schools in the Cayman Islands are represented by the Private Schools Association (PSA). The PSA’s Bylaws specify the minimum requirements for private schools to be admitted as members, making them eligible to receive a share of government funding. MEYSAL allocates the funding in two ways: half is allocated as a block grant of equal amount to each PSA member school; the other half is allocated as a variable grant based on each member school’s enrolment as a percentage of the total PSA member schools’ enrolment. As part of the budgeting process, the PSA signs a Purchase Agreement with the Government, which sets out the outputs to be delivered. For example, the Purchase Agreement for 2018 and 2019 specifies that 11 to 13 schools are to be funded, while the purchase agreement for 2020 and 2021 specifies that 12 to 14 assisted schools are to be funded; the minimum enrolment for both primary and secondary private schools; and timelines within which private schools should submit required information to MEYSAL. The signed Purchase Agreement for 2018 and 2019 also states that the aims of the funding are to ensure that private schools such as that they are registered and in good standing with MEYSAL; are subject to external school inspections by the OES;  submit complete and accurate information on standards of achievement and progress of students;  submit complete and accurate students’ enrolment and attendance data;  submit evidence of provision of full-time education for compulsory age students. MEYSAL monitors private schools’ compliance with the outputs specified in the Purchase Agreement.’ (p. 31)

Quality of teaching and learning

Curriculum and education standards: The Education Law (2016) set the mandatory guidelines and subjects for every school to follow, including private schools. However, the curriculum at private schools may include additional complementary curriculums such as the US and UK curriculum and Montessori curriculum. The Education Regulations (2017) dictates that the Education Council must approve all information related to programmes and curriculum.

Textbooks and learning materials: Private schools are allowed to choose their textbooks and materials according to their academic structure and curriculum.

Teaching profession: For teachers to be employed at any school (public and private), they must be registered in the teacher’s registry at the MEYSAL and comply with the academic requirements according to the education level.

Corporal punishment: The 2016  Education Law enacts that corporal punishment and acts that are cruel, inhumane, or degrading to students are prohibited in an educational institution. Every school must establish a Behaviour Policy that includes the disciplinary penalties to be applied and the procedures for enforcing the penalties.

Other safety measures and COVID-19: The Government provided grants for private schools based on the needs and applications to assist in the impact of Covid-19. It also issued a comprehensive guideline for schools to responds to the need emerged during the pandemic and beyond.

Equitable access

Fee-setting: No information was found. However, the education act of 2010 mentioned that in all government schools- (a) children who possess Caymanian status shall be admitted free of payment of any tuition fees, but shall pay the fees for books and equipment set forth in the Third Schedule; and (b) children who do not possess Caymanian status shall be charged tuition fees in the amounts set forth in the Third Schedule The following fees apply to non-Caymanian residences: Years 1-6 $250 per term x3 Years 7-9 $300 per term x3 Years 10-12 $400 per term x3. As the public schools offer only an incomplete cycle (until age 15) those who want to continue education have to enrol in private schools, the state offers scholarship to cover fees in that case.

Admission selection and processes: According to the Ministry of Health, Environment, Culture, and Housing, all new students entering government or private schools for the first time in Cayman must have a health screening. No information was found in the legislation on admission procedures. Nevertheless, other sources, such as the webpage of private schools, suggest private schools may organize their admission processes.

Policies for vulnerable groups: The private sector offers scholarships to eligible students and some students qualify. In such cases, the private sector scholarship is awarded first, and a government scholarship is awarded to meet the remaining costs.

Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability

School board: No mandatory guidelines for school management were found; however, according to the Office of Education Standards Annual Report 2019, governance in private schools is significantly diverse. According to the Office of Education Standards Annual Report 2019, some private schools include school owners, principals, and deputy principals; however, there were few examples of parents, staff, or older students being represented in the governance bodies.  Some schools are included in their structure Parent Teacher Association or Student Councils. In April 2019 the minister of education announced the decision to install  school boards (in public schools) ‘Over the next two years’ ‘to give parents, teachers and the wider community a direct say in how their schools are run’

Reporting requirements: Annually, the Chief of Education must submit a report describing the standards of achievement and progress of students receiving education in assisted schools and independent schools and further information required by the Chief Education Officer. According to the Education Regulations (2017), the school's owner or board of directors must maintain a data collection management system and accurate health and safety records. For more information, see Multi-level regulations.

School inspection: See Multi-level regulations.

Student assessment: There is currently no National Assessment organized. However, the 2019  Annual Report of the Office of Education Standards recommends implementing a required student assessment in reading and mathematics.

Diplomas and degrees: Information was not found.

Sanctions: The state may suspend or revoke the school’s registration when the institution fails to comply with the minimum educational requirements or standards required for authorization. Institutions which operate without due authorization are liable to monetary fines.


Registration and approval: The 2016  Education Law and the 2017 Education Regulations dictate that no person or entity may own, operate, manage or participate in the management of any educational institution unless that institution is registered following the regulations. According to Registration of Technical, Vocational or other Training Institutions, the registration process of an institution of tertiary education includes three phases which all proprietors must fulfill. Registration requirements include a list of proposed staff members and qualifications, a copy of the curriculum framework, financial documentation, infrastructure documentation and certificates, and legal documentation of operation such as a Certificate of Incorporation (provided by the Department of Finance) or Trade and Business license.

Licence: No information was found.

Financial operation

Profit-making: No information was found.

Taxes and subsidies: The 2016 Education Law dictates the Minister may provide higher education institutions with subsidies from the funds available to the Minister for the grant, subsidies or other means provision set by the Minister.

Quality of teaching and learning

Curriculum and education standards: According to the 2017 Education Regulations, all programmes at a tertiary institution must be taught following the accreditation or certification standard of the institution as approved through the registration of the institution.

Teaching profession: All academic staff must possess a degree, professional qualification, or other appropriate qualification in the field of instruction in which the teacher/trainer is teaching, a valid work permit, proof of Police Clearance for all staff members, and must be registered at the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture and Lands (MEYSAL).

Equitable access

Fee-setting: No information was found.

Admission selection and processes: No information was found

Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability

Board: No information was found in the requirements of an institution of higher education to establish a Board of Management. However, all administration and management staff must possess credentials in business or in the field of education and must be registered at the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture and Lands (MEYSAL).

Reporting requirements: All tertiary educational institutions must provide the Chief Officer with periodic reports on the achievement of learning outcomes of its curricular programmes, the evaluation of graduate success through the use of indicators such as employment rates and the evaluation of educational improvements through the use of indicators such as student retention, persistence and completion of programmes. For more information, see Multi-level regulations.

Inspection: See Multi-level regulations.

Assessment: During the registration process, institutions must include the assessment materials to be used, considering the relevance and suitability.

Diplomas and degrees:

Sanctions: Institution of higher education that fails to comply with the requirements by which the registration certificate was obtained may have their registration status revoked or suspended by the Education Council.

3.2 Multi-level regulations

This section covers regulations on the establishment, operation, and quality of non-state institutions from pre-primary to tertiary education level.

Reporting requirements: The Office of Education Standards (OES) is responsible for the evaluation of all learning facilities (including private ones and early education) at least every two years. The overall performance of the school will be judged as excellent, good, satisfactory, or weak. Follow-Through Inspections will be undertaken on a six-monthly basis to all schools judged as ‘weak.’ The Follow-Through Inspections will continue until the school's performance reaches a satisfactory level Excellent, Good, Satisfactory, or Weak according to the compliance of the pre-established requirements.  The evaluation process includes a self-evaluation report from the institutions.

Inspection: According to the Education Law (2016), the Chief Officer or any public officer authorized (with previous authorization from the Chief Officer) may enter the premises of any educational institution, home school, early childhood education and care facilities or institutions of tertiary education to inspect to ensure compliance with the expected standards for an authorized educational facility. The Office of Education Standards (OES) conducts inspections as part of its evaluation process of all learning facilities.

3.3 Supplementary private tutoring


According to the Education Law (2016) and the Education Regulations (2017), all facilities providing learning support must apply to the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture, and Lands (MEYSAL) and comply with the requirements to receive school status to operate. Institutions providing educational support must follow the exact requirements of private compulsory education institutions to operate.

Financial operation and quality

No information was found. However, in the Cayman Islands, the requirement for institutions providing educational support services to be authorized by the MEYSAL the quality and operations are based on the facility obtaining the authorization permit.

Teaching profession

As in private compulsory schools, teachers must be registered in the Teacher Registry to provide classes at an educational support institution.


Dernière modification:

ven 26/11/2021 - 12:19