- Early childhood care and education (Entry/Establishment ○ Financial operation ○ Quality of teaching and learning ○ Equitable access ○ Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability)
- Primary and secondary education (Entry/Establishment ○ Financial operation ○ Quality of teaching and learning ○ Equitable access ○ Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability)
- Tertiary education (Entry/Establishment ○ Financial operation ○ Quality of teaching and learning ○ Equitable access ○ Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability)
The 2016 Education Law regulates education provision in the Cayman Islands from pre-primary to tertiary education for ‘independent schools,’ ‘assisted schools,’ and ‘government schools’. An ‘independent school’ is defined as a ‘funded school managed from resources other than the Government’, while an ‘assisted school’ is defined as a 'partly funded school but not managed by the Government'.
In the Cayman Islands, state schools account for 48% of all educational institutions at primary (six years, beginning at age five), lower secondary (four years, beginning at age 11), and upper secondary (three years, beginning at age 14) levels. There are 11 primary schools and three secondary education schools. Education is compulsory and free at primary and lower secondary level (ages 5-17).
In 2010, grade 12 became compulsory for all students. Some Grade 12 students receive scholarships to attend private schools for their final year, which cover the cost of school fees.
Non-state managed, state schools
No information was found.
Non-state funded, state schools
No information was found.
Independent, non-state schools
Private schools are referred to as ‘independent schools’. They are established, managed, and financed by private actors (which include individual proprietors, General or Limited Partnerships, Limited by Guarantee, Limited by Shares or Non-Profit Organisations). Private schools account for 52% of all educational institutions in the Cayman Islands, some of which include Montessori schools, international schools, and Christian schools. Private schools are required to include certain mandatory subjects in their curriculum, but may also include additional learning material (typically following the American or English curriculum).
In 2019, there were 17 private schools (all on Grand Cayman), which include 8 primary schools and 9 primary and secondary schools. At the compulsory school levels, 44% of all enrolments were in private schools and 56% in public schools. Private school students account for 46% of primary enrolments and 44% of secondary enrolments.
State-funded (government-aided), non-state schools
Assisted schools are partially funded schools, which are not managed by the Government (Education Law 2016). The Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture and Lands (MEYSAL) is responsible for setting the terms and conditions for government grants according to 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 financial statements, and receiving at least a 'satisfactory' grading in an external inspection by the Office of Education Standards. According to the Plan and Estimate for the 2020 Financial Year, between two and five public and private schools qualified for financial assistance. In 2021, this increased to five to ten educational institutions.
Contracted, non-state schools
No information was found.
According to the 2016 Education Law and 2017 Education Regulations, homeschooling is a legal option for parents or legal representatives. The Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture and Lands (MEYSAL) regulates homeschooling and requires parents or legal representatives to register their children with the MEYSAL and follow the established guidelines. If a homeschooling programme no longer meets the requirements or fails to meet the standards of progression, the Office of Education Standards may advise the Minister to terminate the program. During COVID-19, the Office of Education Standards developed an inspection report on homeschooling provision in private schools.
Market contracted (Voucher schools)
No information was found.
No information was found.
The Cayman Islands are one of the 14 British Overseas Territories. The Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture and Lands (MEYSAL) is responsible for the governance of the education system, including public and private provision.
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 2012-17 Cayman Islands Strategic Plan for Education focused on strengthening the education system, including state and non-state provision, and introducing policy changes that impact private schools. The Plan aimed for the Department of Education Services (DES) to collaborate with educators, parents, and the private sector with the goal of improving students learning outcomes.
Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE), which covers children under the age of five, is mostly provided by private actors in the Cayman Islands. ECCE facilities are mainly categorised into ECCE private centres, ECCE Settings in Private Schools, and ECCE Settings in Public Schools, accounting for 67%, 20%, and 13% of enrolments, respectively. ECCE Private Centres are centres owned by private individuals/companies who provide care and education services to children younger than the 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. Finally, 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 centres 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, inspection reports, and approved floor plans. The ECCE center must additionally comply with the required teacher-student ratios and infrastructure requirements.
Licence: Upon approval, a Certificate of Registration is issued by the Education Council. The Certificate of Registration must then be presented to the Trade and Business License Board (along with the required fee), which issues a Trade and Business License. ECCE centers are required to apply annually for re-registration in order for their Certification of Registration to remain valid.
Taxes and subsidies: As part of the government’s strategy on early childhood education, the state provides financial assistance to parents or tutors to enrol children in public or private ECCE centers.
Curriculum and education standards: All ECCE centers must follow the Cayman Islands Early Years Curriculum, but may introduce additional learning programs according to each institution's philosophy.
Teaching profession: The 2017 Education Regulations require all teachers to hold the minimum early childhood and education qualifications according to their position and level. All teachers must additionally be registered in the Teachers Registry to be employed at any ECCE center in the Cayman Islands. Regulations also state 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. All ECCE personnel must meet the requirements of the Labour Law and the Pension Law, while all members must have a certificate from the Police Clearance.
Fee-setting: All ECCE centers are required to inform parents or guardians of the attendance fee to be charged, with no specific regulation on fee-setting.
Admission selection and processes: No information was found.
Policies for vulnerable groups: The Early Childhood Assistance Programme (ECAP) provides children with financial assistance to enrol in ECCE centers. Upon application with the 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 aged three years and over.
Reporting requirements: See Multi-level regulations.
Inspection: See Multi-level regulations.
Child assessment: All registered ECCE centers must implement procedures for assessing children’s progress based on the Cayman Islands Early Years Curriculum Framework (CIEYCF).
Sanctions: The Ministry may order the closure of an early childhood center for health and safety reasons or if the provider fails to meet the minimum standards.
Registration and approval: To establish an educational institution in the Cayman Islands, proprietors (individuals or entities) must apply for registration to the Education Council and comply with the minimum requirements set for establishment, in accordance with the 2016 Education Law. All applications must include information on teacher qualifications, student/teacher ratios, the maximum number of students to be accommodated, and infrastructure details. Infrastructure requirements include the number and type of toilets and number and size of classrooms, as set in the 2017 Education Regulations.
Similar to ECCE, the registration procedure consists of 4 different phases of document submission and approval, which aims to ensure the required standards in curriculum, infrastructure (including space requirements), and health and safety are being met.
Licence: Upon approval, a registration certificate is 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): All schools must maintain an accurate record of health and safety standards, which is subject to inspection. If a school fails to comply with any health and safety standards, their license can be suspended or cancelled.
Profit-making: Private providers can apply to be registered either as businesses/companies or non-profit organisations.
Taxes and subsidies: Private schools may apply for grants, subsidies or other types of government assistance following Ministry policies and guidelines, therefore becoming assisted schools. 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.The MEYSAL monitors private schools’ compliance with specific provisions in the Purchase Agreement, with schools additionally subject to external inspection by the OES.
Curriculum and education standards: The 2016 Education Law sets the mandatory subjects that all schools (including private schools) must follow. However, private schools may include additional complementary curricula, such as Montessori. According to the 2017 Education Regulations, the Education Council must approve all school programmes and curricula.
Textbooks and learning materials: Private schools may choose their own textbooks and learning materials according to their academic structure and curriculum.
Teaching profession: For teachers to be employed at any school (public or private), they must be registered in the teacher’s registry under the MEYSAL and comply with the academic requirements according to the education level they teach.
Corporal punishment: According to the 2016 Education Law, corporal punishment acts that are "cruel, inhumane, or degrading" to students are prohibited in any 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 to private schools based on identified needs during Covid-19. A comprehensive guideline was additionally issued for schools to respond to any need during the pandemic and beyond.
Fee-setting: According to the 2010 Education Act, children who are citizens of the Cayman Islands do not pay tuition fees in government schools, but must pay fees for any books or equipment needed. The state may offer scholarships to cover tuition fees for children to attend private schools after the age of 15, in cases where there is no free public provision.
Admission selection and processes: There is no regulation on the admissions process of private schools, with private schools free to organise their own admissions.
Policies for vulnerable groups: Private schools may offer scholarships to eligible students, which the government may contribute to.
School board: According to the 2019 Office of Education Standards Annual Report, private schools may include school owners, principals, and deputy principals, with some schools including Parent Teacher Association or Student Councils in their structure. However, this is not a requirement.
In 2019, the Minister of Education decided to establish school boards in public schools "to give parents, teachers and the wider community a direct say in how their schools are run".
Reporting requirements: The Chief of Education must submit an annual report describing the standards of achievement and progress of students in assisted schools and independent schools. According to the 2017 Education Regulations, the school 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 no nationally organised student assessment. However, the 2019 Annual Report of the Office of Education Standards recommends implementing a mandatory student assessment in reading and mathematics.
Diplomas and degrees: Information was not found.
Sanctions: The state may suspend or revoke a school’s registration if the institution fails to comply with the minimum educational requirements or standards required for authorisation. Institutions which operate without due authorisation are liable to monetary fines.
Registration and approval: No person or entity may own, operate, manage or participate in the management of any educational institution unless that institution is registered in accordance with the 2016 Education Law and 2017 Education Regulations. Registration requirements for tertiary education institutions include a list of the 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.
Profit-making: No information was found.
Taxes and subsidies: According to the 2016 Education Law, the Minister may provide higher education institutions with subsidies from the funds available to the Minister.
Curriculum and education standards: According to the 2017 Education Regulations, all tertiary education programmes must comply with the accreditation or certification standard of the institution, as approved during its registration.
Teaching profession: All academic staff must possess a degree, professional qualification, or other appropriate qualification in their field of instruction, a valid work permit, and proof of Police Clearance. Academic staff must additionally be registered under the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture and Lands (MEYSAL).
Fee-setting: No information was found.
Admission selection and processes: No information was found
Board: All administration and management staff must possess credentials in business or in the field of education and be registered under the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture and Lands (MEYSAL).
Reporting requirements: All tertiary education institutions are required to provide the Chief Officer with periodic reports on the achievement of learning outcomes, the evaluation of graduate success, and the evaluation of educational improvements through student retention and completion rates. For more information, see Multi-level regulations.
Inspection: See Multi-level regulations.
Assessment: Assessment materials must be approved during the registration process, considering their relevance and suitability.
Diplomas and degrees:
Sanctions: Any institution of higher education that fails to comply with the requirements of their registration certificate may have their registration status revoked or suspended by the Education Council.
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 institutions) at least once every two years. Follow-up Inspections are undertaken on a six-month basis to all schools judged as ‘weak’, with inspections continuing until the school's performance reaches a satisfactory level. The evaluation process includes a self-evaluation report from the institutions.
Inspection: According to the 2016 Education Law, the Chief Officer or any authorised public officer may enter and inspect the premises of any educational institution to ensure its compliance with the required standards. The Office of Education Standards (OES) conducts inspections as part of its evaluation process of all learning facilities.
According to the 2016 Education Law and 2017 Education Regulations, all facilities providing learning support must apply to the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture, and Lands (MEYSAL) for a license to operate. All institutions are required to comply with the same operation requirements applicable to private compulsory education institutions.
The quality and operation of institutions providing educational support services must be authorised by the MEYSAL.
Similar to private schools at the compulsory school level, teachers must be registered in the Teacher Registry to teach classes at an educational support institution.