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17/01/2012

Why we should not ignore the Arts.

By now, the dust on KCPE results ahs settled. Watching the top students career
aspirations, it is easy to tell that a majority of the brightest young stars want to pursue careers in the sciences. Medicine, engineering and law rank high among the future career aspirations of the KCPE stars. Of the many KCPE stars interviewed by the many, I noticed one only that was interested in a career in the arts, in archaeology to be specific.
Why is it that all the best students are made to feel as if a career in the arts is not something worth pursuing. Does it mean that an A student can really not pursue a course, say , in Sociology. Not too long ago, a former
education minister was advocating for the funds for arts courses to be slashed. In his opinion, he didn’t think that the arts courses contributed too much to the national development. He was convinced that science courses played a far much significant role in the development of a country as opposed to the arts courses. And he is really not alone in his perception. In many Kenyan campuses, usually, the medical students occupy some kind of high ground, as they consider themselves to be more important than the rest. The engineering students come second, with their usual mantra, ‘ We deal not in theories but in facts’, the BCOM students swiftly follow and then finally the arts students. And even in dating, a guy is likely to earn many more points with a lady if he pursues medicine or engineering.

It really need not be so. An arts education can really open someone’s mind, and in fact, is many times more beneficial than many people imagine. In fact, in the olden days, in the European enlightenment age, one had to study such concepts as philosophy and theology in addition to science and mathematics. The great Egyptian Imhotep, and his later day western intellectual followers such as Isaac Newton, Copernicus and Galileo were first and foremost philosophers and only then as scientists. In any case, human problems in the physical world provided the inspiration for them to engage in the rigorous scientific study. And such human problems are first and foremost studied in such subjects as history, sociology or in more broad terms as liberal arts. 

In some western Universities, the first two years is really spent on picking a variety of courses, in the arts as well as the sciences. The universities believe that with such a curriculum, which they refer to as a liberal arts curriculum, the students will not only be able to develop their careers, but also their minds. For really, a liberal arts education does enable someone to really open up their mind. Since we do not have the luxury of developing a person’s mind only at the expense of a career, the modern day term for a highly skilled craftsman, then it is imperative that our universities attempt to find some balance between developing the mind and developing the career. For even an engineer or architect would much be inspired by the works of imhotep, in building the Egyptian pyramids that have withstood for five thousand years. Such a historical concept would provide the basis upon which she can also be able to design unique houses and buildings, for in the true sense, the purpose of science is to reassure while the purpose of art is to upset.In any case, many newspaper adverts these days are filled with more arts job vacancies than science job vacancies.



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2 comments:

  1. that is really what happens in this country of which brings some imbalance in career development

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  2. I passed so well with a mean grade of B plain and it was so unfortunate that i did not get a chance to join the public universities since the JAB cut off points was 63 for female and i happened to get 61 points that was in the year 2008.I have gone through a lot since then because i couldn't get a sponsor who will help me pursue a career in civil engineering.I have strong grades in maths and sciences and my wish and prayer is to have a sponsor who will help me make my dream come true and i wont let him /her down.God bless you. In case of anything get back to me on this email marykimani68@yahoo.com

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