By Wandia N
Damn. I hate seeing the media goof and goof about things that we in the arts and humanities would have taught them to see from a mile away. This is so frustrating. And yet few of us in these subjects are speaking up, even though we are slowly being crushed and sent into oblivion.
A student in my poetry class which I love to talk about, where we we discuss the importance of words, images and esthetics, eventually quit my class, but not before being honest and telling me that what I’m saying is important but useless, because they are being trained for mainstream media alone, not to be creative and to think.
And I had no choice but to agree, but I did warn him that there’s a price for that narrow mindedness. One, I told him media houses cannot employ graduates from the 70+ universities all teaching media. Two, after a few years in the media house (if he gets into one), he will reach a ceiling in his knowledge and will have nothing to say unless he has learned to be creative. And then the media house will replace him the cheaper and next fresh face.
I don’t blame him. That is our education philosophy, which most of us in the middle class accept because we have no clue what philosophy is, so we can’t debate on that level. Our education system is designed to teach for the first job. After that, you have no more to give because the school shut down the subjects which had long term, rather than immediate value.
Just this week, I mourning to my father and asking him for advice. I was telling him that that I still feel like a fish out of water because our education never allowed to us imagine our lives after job, marriage, kids.
So I have no long term idea of what I’m doing, and every day is a day of trouble shooting. We can’t settle, and some even tell us that that is something to celebrate. I thought I would just teach students year after year, grow in knowledge and expand arts education, but doing even that is a struggle. Everybody fights against you for trying to just have a simple, normal life. Like why would people tell students not to take classes in the arts? Why does it bother them?
And then, at supper, we were having a discussion and we were explaining to our son how the world has gone mad. Nothing is stable. I was telling him that if today, I was to buy land and build a school and it does well, politicians and parasite sector would circle around the school in 20 years and convert it into real estate to rent to a foreign education business. So now I can’t even consider an education legacy for him to continue.
But back to the media. I can’t teach them the arts but I have to watch them make mistakes.
This is why people enter government. Outside government, there’s so little fulfillment. Every day is a humiliation. And for me, its an intellectual one. For the poor, they are humiliated to the point of getting branded sanitary towels. Women can’t so much as menstruate in peace.
I wonder when Kenyans will finally say that dignity from wholesome education is more important than employment and infrastructure.