By GEORGE ORIDO
Teachers involved in training of drama and music will from this year be paid allowances to compensate for their time and input.
Education Minister Mutula Kilonzo said art will no longer be treated as a part-time piece of activity.
"The items presented here as plays, verses, narrative and dances are of high quality that can be featured anywhere in the world," he said when he joined students, parents and Kakamega residents to sample the best of drama at the end of Kenya Schools and Colleges Drama Festivals Wednesday.
He also announced that in the last three months, his ministry has put together three Bills, including the National Education Policy.
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The minister, who was full of humour in his presentation, said skills in theatre are required in every field.
Mr Kilonzo expressed disappointment that apart from National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), other Agenda Four commissions were missing at the event.
"They should have been here. This is where national issues pertinent to the hearts of Kenyans are being discussed," he said.
Education Secretary George Godia said the ministry will continue to promote drama.
"Many have seen the savage of instinct in humans but also the message of forgiveness," he said
NCIC director Mzalendo Kibunjia urged Kenyans to keep peace as the country heads to elections.
"Whenever there are elections, we kill ourselves and also the economy," he said disclosing that Uwiano Programme spearheaded by the commission is geared towards involving all Kenyans in observing peace.
Assistant Minister Ayiecho Olweny urged politicians to create a peaceful environment for students.
"The overall message from the children is that they want a safe and peaceful environment to learn and play. We must guarantee it to them," he said.
Kilonzo received a shot in the arm when a teachers’ union representative said his coming to the ministry will change teachers’ fortunes.
"It pains me when money from the ministry is taken back at the end of the year while we suffer such serious teacher shortage," said the official.
Festival chairman Chokera Kahora thanked the partnership they received from Mumias Sugar as well as NCIC, G-Pange, anti-graft body and Equity Bank.
Others present were NCIC commissioner Alice Nderitu, Shinyalu MP Kizito Mugali and Executive Secretary Khaemba Sirengo.