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Cayman Islands

Official Country Name: Cayman Islands
Region: North & Central America
Population: 34,763
Language(s): English
Literacy Rate: 98%

The Cayman Islands, a dependency of the United Kingdom, are located in the Caribbean Sea about 160 kilometers south of Cuba and 290 kilometers northwest of Jamaica. This British Crown Colony consists of three islands: Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman. The islands, discovered by Columbus in 1503 and taken over by the British in 1670, are a self-governing member of the Federation of the West Indies.

The literacy rate on the Cayman Islands was 98 percent in 2000. Free public education based on the United Kingdom model is available to all children beginning at age five. There are 17 government schools that include primary (K-6), middle school (7-9), and high school (10-12). There is one special education school. Additionally, there are several elementary and secondary private schools on Grand Cayman.

Government-funded postsecondary education began in 1975 when a part time community college was opened. During the next six years, three other postsecondary institutions were opened: the Trade School, the Hotel School, and the Marine School. In 1985 the administration of these institutions was centralized as the Community College of the Cayman Islands, located on Grand Cayman. In 1987, the college was established as a semi-autonomous institution granting an Associate Degree and offering continuing education and professional/vocational courses.

The International College of the Cayman Islands (ICCI), founded in 1970 and accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools in Washington, DC, operates as a non-profit, privately controlled, American-style senior college. ICCI offers the following degrees: Associate of Science, Bachelor of Science, Master of Business Administration, and Master of Science in management. There are approximately 30 full-time and adjunct faculty members. Guest lecturers from around the world share their expertise with the students who come from every continent to study at ICCI.

The Cayman Islands is one of 15 non-campus countries contributing to the University of the West Indies, which offers outreach and distance education programs. Some universities in the United States also offer summer and short-term courses in the Cayman Islands; these courses are usually related to tropical biology or marine study. Other private organizations offer continuing education courses and certified instruction in underwater photography, snorkeling, and scuba diving.


The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The World Fact-book 2000. Directorate of Intelligence, 1 January 2000. Available from http://www.cia.gov.

Community College of the Cayman Islands, 2001. Available from http://www.ccci.edu.ky.

Eubanks, Edna S., and James Bovell. "Cayman Islands Information." Dream Finders, 1 January 2001. Available from http://www.dreamfinders.com.

George Hicks High School. "Education in the Cayman Islands," February 2001. Available from http://www.ghhs.edu.ky.

George, Shurlaud, and Andrew F. Clark. "Tourism Education and Training Policies in Developing Countries: A Case Study of the Cayman Islands." Journal of Third World Studies 15 (Spring 1998): 205-220.

International College of the Cayman Islands, 1998. Available from http://www.cayman.com.ky.

Steen, Sarah, ed. Vacation Study Abroad: The Complete Guide to Summer and Short-Term Study. New York: Institute of International Education, 1999.

University of the West Indies, 5 March 2001. Available from http://www.uwichill.edu.

—Jo Anne R. Bryant

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