Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi calls for county talent academies

Mombasa, Kenya: Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi has called for the establishment of talent academies in each county to cater for the performing arts.

Speaking at the on going Kenya Music Festival in Mombasa yesterday, Prof Kaimenyi said the country needs to nurture the high potential on display by students.

He stressed the need for parents and teachers to let students explore their talent and nurture it to the end, as well as encourage them not to give up on art as it was paying just like any other profession.

“Long gone are the days when we expected everyone to study physics or engineering,” he said.

Since last year, a new interest in talent academies has been rejuvenated, with President Uhuru Kenyatta inaugurating the rehabilitation of the Kenya National Theatre with funding from Kenya Breweries Limited.

Addressing winners of the Kenya Schools and Colleges Drama Festival at State House, Mombasa, in April last year, President Kenyatta promised to construct an ultra-modern national theatre and a state-of-the-art Kenya Film School.

“I would be lying if I told you I knew any details on the progress of the film school as promised,” said Kaimenyi as he answered questions from the Press. The fete is being held at the Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa.

Kaimenyi said his ministry was working closely with the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts to make the current talent academies beneficial to the over 70 per cent of jobless youths.

The CS also directed his officers to arrest any parent who fails to take children to school.

“It is the only way we can guarantee universal education for all. If found guilty these parents will have to pay a fine of Sh100,000 as stipulated in the law," he said.

During the event, Kenya Music Festival acting chairman Nicholas Moipei said the festival had seen many musicians nurture their skills to become artists of repute.

He cited examples of Eric Wainaina, Ian Mbugua, Suzanne Owiyo and Roughtone among others as leading artists who have built their careers through the festival.

Mr Mopiei’s daughters, the Moipei Quartet, were a core part of the festival in their school days. The girls secured scholarships to study music at St Mary’s University in Texas, US, and will be leaving this week.

"We are truly in good hands as we see young people from diverse backgrounds perform and express themselves assertively and confidently,” he said.

Among the recipients of the trophies awarded yesterday were Moi University who became the pioneer winners with a Scottish dance for universities directed by Lylly Aurah and Isaac Waswa Shitubi in a class introduced this year.

Nzoia region scooped most of the trophies at the festival, bagging over 100 for the best performance in the over 600 classes.

Other winners included Erusui Secondary School, Zetech University, Moi Girls Nairobi, Muhoroni Furaha School, Friends College Kaimosi, Kibabii Teachers College, Pumwani High, Chavakali High and Mbale High.