Liberia: 'Why President Weah Should Introduce Compulsory Arts Education in High Schools'

Radio Diva Master Queen: "This country is blessed talented people, but many of them are not trained in their craft, and as a result of this, their works always have some shortcoming."

-- Master Queen

Radio personality Master Queen has appealed to President George Weah to introduce compulsory arts education in school across the country in order to develop the talents of Liberians youth at an early age.

This, according to Master Queen, will be an immense benefit for aspiring musicians, fine artists and filmmakers and, overall, the growth of the creative industries.

"With the introduction of arts education in our education system, it will enhance lots of students' creative thinking and enhanced self-confidence," she said. "Also, this will leads to the development of the areas of the brain related to language and reasoning of students as a result of early musical training. On the overall, arts education will enhance our students' poor performance in math, reading, cognitive ability, and verbal skills.

"The teaching of arts in school is essential to protect and revitalize the practice of culture and traditional norms and develop the talents of professional creative individuals.

"When students participate in arts education, it helps them to develop a stronger sense of individualism, self-reflection, and self-esteem. Student participation in art activities helps them learn to commit to a task; prepare themselves emotionally, physically and mentally; and work toward the goals of mastering and sharing their skills," the award-winning radio entertainment radio host said.

While the teaching of art is not compulsory, the subject is taught voluntarily in some schools across the country. According to the Cultural Policy In Liberia, a book written by Kenneth Y. Best and published by UNESCO, art education was taught in school in Liberia at its peak in the late 1970s on a voluntary basis but with an emphasis on cultural performance.

Nowadays, the situations are quite different as not many schools are involved in arts education.

"The problem with this situation is the devaluation of Liberia's tradition and cultural norms which were not the case in 1970 when arts education was taught in school," she said.

Master Queen added the absence of arts education in schools across has resulted in Liberia being a country that lacks sufficient professionally trained creative individuals to spur growth and development in the creative industries.

"This country is blessed talented people, but many of them are not trained in their craft, and as a result of this, their works always have some shortcoming," she said. "But things will be different when arts education is introduced in across the country; therefore, it is time for President Weah to see reason and introduce Liberian children to drama, music, film-making, painting and art galleries."

Master Queen notes that with the renaissance of live music in the country and the coming forth of theater across the country, the level of professionally trained musicians and filmmakers will only increase if arts education is introduced in the Liberian education system.

The award-winning radio personality further explained that arts education opens minds, broadens horizons and helps children to learn and contribute to the economy.

"Our creative talent is a precious national resource, and it should not be neglected and left to die painfully. It is for this reason, I'm calling on the President to see reason and introduce art education in Liberian schools, a move which will help the nation to adequately prepare its next generation of actors, musicians, writers, designers and many more.

"The time is now and not tomorrow. Therefore, the government must act to ensure that the arts are at the heart of every child's education. The lack of arts education is the primary reason that many of our musicians are not professional train as well as our actors and actresses," Master Queen added.

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