President Uhuru Kenyatta has urged county governments to invest more in the creative economy by developing theatres and other multipurpose halls. He said the arts is a new frontier for job and wealth creation, thus the counties must facilitate construction of requisite infrastructure.
“I agree with the chairman on the establishment of theatres across the country because our youth must be kept busy positively,” he said.
The President was speaking to winners of the 59th edition of the annual Kenya Schools and Colleges Drama Festival who performed at State House, Nairobi yesterday.
The newly elected chairman of the festival Prof Christopher Odhiambo had earlier asked the President to support building of theatres.
“Through involvement in these artistic forms, the learners develop critical performance skills. These skills prepare them for the world of work in the creative, cultural and entertainment industries,” said Prof Odhiambo.
Kenyatta University sent the President and other guests into stitches when they presented their narrative, Annabel.
Other teams that performed include Liganwa Primary School, St Anne’s ECD, Thika School for the Visually Impaired, Lubinu Secondary School, Asumbi TTC, NYS Craft College, Kangaru High School, Juja Preparatory School, Matuga Secondary School and Booker Academy.
At the same time, the President launched a Sh4.05 billion National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) comprehensive medical cover to cater for students in public secondary schools. Through the cover, the government will pay a premium of Sh1,350 per student for the three million students in public secondary schools to fulfill one pillar of Jubilee government’s Big Four Agenda – provision of affordable health care.
Speaking during the launch at State House, President Kenyatta said the cover will only cater for specific students.
“This will ensure that our students access quality health services, easing the burden from their parents and guardians,” he said.
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To bolster implementation of the new scheme, the President directed the Ministry of Health to ensure health facilities serving students have NHIF accreditation. “Since students are expected to be in school most of the time, the provider must ensure they have access to medical services close to school,” the Head of State said.
The President also directed NHIF to register all learners to enable them access the new services when the second term begins.
He emphasised the importance of accurate data, and said the National Education Management Information System is addressing the issue.
However, it was not immediately clear how sieving will be done to ensure there is no duplication of those already registered.
Some students are currently covered through their parents, who are members and principal contributors to NHIF.
In a previous interview, NHIF manager in charge of Benefits and Claims Gilbert Osoro said the insurer will recruit agents to push up the number of subscribers to 13 million by 2022.
Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed said the medical cover was culmination of extensive consultations between NHIF and the ministries of health and education.
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[Additional reporting by PSCU]