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Education Minister’s Child Month Message

Community 30 May, 2023 Follow News

Juliana O’Connor-Connolly

By Minister for Education,
the Honourable Juliana

As we celebrate another Child Month, I wish to appeal to parents, teachers and the rest of the Cayman Islands community to commit to protecting and educating our nation’s children.

Our children are our greatest assets. And as a nation, it is imperative for those of us charged with responsibility for their care to create a safe, nurturing environment that fosters their growth and development into responsible citizens.

Despite this fact, child abuse and mistreatment cases are still far too prevalent, which suggests that we have not yet managed to create a safe environment for ALL children.

The Ministry of Education fully supports this year’s Child Month theme, “Investing in Our Children Means Investing in Our Future.”

It is well-known that, over the years, we have invested heavily in teaching and learning resources. We have done this to improve the educational opportunities presented to our students.

However, we also recognise that it is essential to invest in developing resources that will guarantee a safe learning environment for every child under our care.

To this end, we have worked diligently to institute National policies for educational institutions outlining code of conduct expectations for adults, safe environment requirements, and a framework for the mandate to report suspicions of child abuse and neglect.

We are also dedicated to preparing individuals working and volunteering in educational institutions to quickly identify and respond to signs of abuse.

Since 2021, approximately 2,700 people have completed our online child safeguarding training, and almost 1,300 have completed the in-person module.

However, we cannot do it alone.

As a society, our collective duty is to place our children’s well-being and holistic growth at the forefront of our priorities.

So, I urge all parents, guardians and other caregivers to let us all work together to create a safe environment for our nation’s children.

In so doing, you must be vigilant, set up child-friendly spaces, engage in open conversations with your children, and listen carefully to their concerns.

Additionally, if you believe a child is being abused or neglected, please don’t hesitate to contact the Child Protection Officer assigned to your child or ward’s school or centre. They will then report the matter to the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) for investigation.

To our Child Protection Officers and the members of the MASH, I thank you for ensuring matters of child abuse are handled with priority.

I likewise express my gratitude to the countless other educators, government agencies, NGOs, parents, and caregivers who tirelessly champion the well-being of our children.

The Ministry of Education will continue to partner with you as we work to safeguard the welfare of our children and foster an atmosphere conducive to their continuous growth and achievement. So that one day, they can develop into self-assured, well-educated individuals who can make valuable contributions to our country’s economic growth, productivity, and competitiveness.

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