Use social media to make money and build talent, Ruto tells Education Ministry

President William Ruto during the The 95th Kenya Music Festival 2023 State Concert at Nakuru State House on August 23,2023. [Kipsang Joseph,Standard]

President William Ruto has directed the Ministry of Education to use the social media to develop talent and make money.

The President said Kenya receives between Sh300 million to Sh400 million per year from social media spaces, and directed the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) to expedite the digitisation of students performances so that they are easily and widely accessible.

Speaking yesterday at the Nakuru State House during the state concert for the winners in this year's Kenya Music Festival, Ruto said a YouTube channel streaming the performances would have made money.

“When you have collected the money then you can come and I will show you how we can share that money,” he said, adding that money would be enough to support the annual fete.

The President underscored the need to nurture talent. “We need to identify the best so we may give them scholarship to further what they do best,” he said.

President Ruto also praised the teachers for their dedication to prepare students for the fete. “The teachers here involved with the training of music and drama must be promoted because they have gone beyond the call of duty,” he said.

Ruto announced he would today meet the TikTok chief executive to discuss how to regulate content on the popular video-sharing platform.

“Tomorrow morning, I will be speaking to the Global CEO of TikTok so that we can agree on a mechanism to moderate content in their space in order to reduce the negative content and leverage on the monetisation that is benefiting a lot more people,” he said.

The President also directed that the Permanent Presidential Music Commission changes its name to National Creative Commission, and asked the Youth Affairs, Sports and the Arts Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba to fastrack a Bill to legislate the move.

Responding to the Kenya Music Festival Chairman Frederick Ngala’s request to have a national recording and production studio, the Head of State said the proposed commission should open the facilities in all counties.

He noted that the festival is not just a celebration of talent, but a celebration of what we are and should be.

The President emphasised the need to develop human capital, saying it is the best treasure for a country. 

He said the Competency-Based Curriculum would unlock talent among the young, adding that the government has allocated the highest budget to Education this year.

The new funding model for university and college students, he said, would ensure the very needy get a decent education.

This year, over 125,422 learners from Early Childhood Development centres, primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities participated in the national event, according to Prof Ngala.

This number is a slight drop from the pre-covid numbers that had soured to 150,000.

The pre-primary pupils numbered 1,492, with public schools bringing 710 pupils. Private schools dominated in this category.

But the picture was different with primary schools participants, where public institutions were the majority, attracting 30,135 participants against private schools' 401.

Secondary schools provided the bulk of the 51,073 performers, with 19,607 boys  against 31,465 girls.

Special schools had 1,929 participants.

Technical and vocational training institutions, all public, brought 5,056 students, with the National Youth Service dominating.

A total of 7,382 university students took part in the national event that was last held in Nyeri in 2018. Among these, 1,042 came from private universities.

The festival attracted funding from various donors, including the Ministry of Youth, Sports and the Arts, who donated Sh143 million.

Other sponsors included the KICD, Communications Authority of Kenya, Amref, Uraia, Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Railways, Schools Equipment Procurement Unit, Highlands Beverages and Brooke Kenya.