The Teachers Sercice Commission (TSC) should honour teachers who have done much to promote drama and music in the Kenya Natonal Drama and Kenya Music Festivals.
They are in action again as this year’s music festival is now on at the region level, while the nationals will be held at Masinde Muliro University in Kakamega County from July 10.
These two annual festivals are the largest cultural events in the Ministry of Education calendar, drawing participants from nursery, primary and secondary schools to teachers’ training colleges, technical institutions and universities.
They bring together artistic talent from all corners of the country.
They help to identify and honour talent among youth and showcase cultural diversity in all its richness.
The festivals feature dances, plays, poetry and oral narratives from all over Kenya.
Indeed, it is a cornucopia of all that is artistic in the country, displayed on a platform that is unlike any other.
During this year’s Kenya National Drama Festival State Concert earlier this year at Kisumu State Lodge, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed the TSC to honour the teachers who have done much to promote theatre and the arts.
He said the drama teachers should be promoted to the next grades in July.
Over the last many decades, drama and dance trainers have been nurturing talent that has gone on to produce the actors and dancers we see on television and hear on radio.
However, those who identify talent and nurture it have not been recognised.
Yet it is they who make the annual Kenya National Drama Festival (previously called the Kenya Schools and Colleges Drama Festival) such a prestigious event.
For 15 years we have witnessed the drama and dance trainers going out of the way, sacrificing time and resources to produce winning items.
It is a labour of love, and they do not get paid for it.
Alliance High School, Kakamega High School, Kaaga Girls, Menengai High School, Moi Girls School, Nairobi, Lenana School, Nairobi School, Karima Girls High School, Bishop Gatimu Ngandu Girls, Kabare Girls, Friends School Kamusinga, Bungoma High School, Riara Springs, Nakuru Lions, Moi Forces Academy Lanet, Highway Secondary School and others have won numerous awards, thanks to these selfless trainers.
In the proposed schools and colleges curriculum, all fields of talent will be honoured.
It will not be only about what you achieve in class.
That is why Kenya National Drama Festival chairman Chokera Kahura is smiling.
The teachers who sacrifice their time, brains and other resources should now be fully recognised.
These people take a lot of time to compose and direct the colourful and informative pieces of drama, poetry and cultural dances.
It is often said that art is a reflection of life.
But art can also be a direction for life, one that can offer a desired trajectory for living and being in the world.
So they require support. Why do you think the “Churchill” television show is so popular?
Because society recognises itself being portrayed in art.
The TSC has been making steps towards recognising and honouring drama teachers, but this has been mostly cosmetic.
It has not been taking the annual event, which features hundreds of thousands of students from all the education levels, seriously.
It is time, as the President said, that these women and men were rightfully honoured.
The Kenya Private Schools Association and colleges and universities, whose drama trainers do not work for the TSC, should also be honoured.
Colleges, private schools and universities provide the best artistic talent in this country.
Therefore, the management of these institutions should accord them due honours.
Those who have done exemplary work include Ms Charity Muraguri of Thogoto Teachers Training College, who has excelled in cultural dances, and Mr Oliver Minishi, the principal of Kakamega High School, who is famous for drama.
The TSC should rise to the occasion and have them honoured.
Mr Njagi is an arts and culture writer. [email protected]