ARTS MATTER

Covid gave kids chance to explore talents

Parents and teachers need to let children exercise their freedom of choice, explore their creativity.

In Summary
  • Parents have a huge influence over their children to the point of determining their choice of subjects in high school or degree in university.
  • Sadly, sometimes this puts children in careers where they end up lifelong failures.
School children perform a dance at the State Lodge Kisumu during the Music Festival Winner's concert on August 14, 2015.
TAP YOUNG TALENT: School children perform a dance at the State Lodge Kisumu during the Music Festival Winner's concert on August 14, 2015.
Image: PSCU

Despite its many negatives, Covid-19 has brought out the talent in many learners while at home, giving them a break from fulfilling parental expectation of good exam grades.

Parents have a huge influence over their children to the point of determining their choice of subjects in high school or degree in university. Sadly, sometimes this puts children in careers where they end up lifelong failures.

Parental pressure stems from wanting a course that guarantees a well-paying job. Many parents are against the arts probably because they want to achieve dreams they themselves failed to fulfil. Poor parents want a return for investing in their children.

Many college students have rowed with their parents over what career path to follow. One may be enthusiastic about graphic design, while the parents may want engineering.

Another may want to do music, yet the parents insist on medicine. The parents may have solid reasons for their decisions but in the process they are not letting children do what they want to, conditioning them to just the world of textbooks.

Parents and teachers alike need to allow children to exercise their freedom of choice and explore their creativity. School should form just one part of a student’s education that offers broad intellectual exploration. Rote learning, which glorifies grades and rarely puts any value on talent, makes it hard to identify learners’ unique interests, learning speeds and retaining powers.

Of course, children have no idea at all what to do with their talents but parents should support them in whatever they are passionate about so they can make a lifelong career out of it. With the prolonged school closure, we have seen that a hand that could paint beautiful pictures had been handed a scalpel. Thanks to the internet, performers have kept the world entertained during the Covid-19 disruption, earning them glorious accolades and pay.

The Universities’ Fund recently unwisely proposed that the government stop funding courses that are not considered crucial to national development and the realisation of the Big Four agenda.

That was unfortunate as even an engineer will need the advice of a sociologist to create a solution to a problem, and must write a report, which requires writing skills that are only taught in an arts class. Arts, like STEM courses, have a critical role to play in the development of a country. Talent, passion and skills are the hallmarks of the 21st century.

Nairobi