'Activities that nurture talent should be allocated more time'

Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi has called for a curriculum review to allocate more school time to co-curricular activities.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of this year's National Music Festival in Kisumu yesterday, Prof Kaimenyi challenged teachers to be on the front line in identifying and nurturing talent.

Kaimenyi said school timetables must be adjusted to give balance between academic and non-academic activities in order to exploit the rich talent in learning institutions.

"From what we have witnessed here, one can see a rich talent in art, dances and music. These must be nurtured so that they create an impact in the country's socio-economic sector," he said.

With most schools focusing on examinations, Kaimenyi said the current system, which scrapped ranking, has opened up education with co-curricular activities taking a vital part.

He said the themes captured at the event, which included environmental management, drug abuse and integrity contribute to societal development.

Nairobi Primary School captured the theme of this year's National Music Festival with a powerful message on national values when they presented their winning verse 'Chapter Twenty' at the winners gala.

The pupils led by Hope Makena were emphatic that this country must go back to the basics to make it through in her quest to prosper. They highlighted rape, theft of public funds, tribalism and other ills afflicting the country.

"I think the children have spoken loud and clear," Kaimenyi said.

Development landscape

Likoni School thrilled the audience with a Mjikenda cultural dance, Gonda, sang in praise of eminent visitors. Busaka's choral verse 'Come' appreciated the way devolution has changed the landscape of development in the regions, singling out such facilities as health centres, better agriculture, better roads, schools and counting.

Drys Girls School Nakuru presented a piece on environmental protection. Booker Academy left no doubt in the minds of the audience that they have perfected singing games in a big way with their meticulous but entertaining piece 'Four Little Girls and Boys in London'.

Katoloni came in to make it clear how the Akama celebrate the wedding of a virgin using Zinganye drums.

Chavakali High School kept the audience on the edge of their seats with their arrangement of the golden oldie Sandoka by TPOK Jazz and Le Grand Maestro Josky Kiambukuta. The song depicts a man surprised that he is not allowed to be with his girlfriend, Namitumi.

When Mama Ngina Girls came in with their Taarab song on drug abuse matters became cortical and they were able to effectively send a strong message that it is time all and sundry walked the talk when it came to dealing with the menace among teens in schools.

Festival National Executive Secretary Benson Abwao said the fete has not only grown in size but also in quality.

"Ours is a growing programme and every time there is a new idea we want to grow with it," he said.

The CS and other officials then gave trophies to a number of winners including to St Mary's Burumba who took home the Kenya National Examinations Council trophy and Springboard Academy who bagged the National Cohesion and Integration trophy.

"Teachers are the mirror of these talents and they must ensure they are not left to go to waste," Kaimenyi said.

Over 120, 000 learners from pre-primary to university level participated in the 89th edition of the competition.

Kaimenyi took the opportunity to reiterate the ministry's directive to ban mock examinations, saying it is irreversible. However, schools have the freedom to offer internal mocks.

"Individual schools can do their mock exams based on what learners have been taught, and that is acceptable. The joint examinations assume that all the schools are equal in syllabus coverage," he said.