DRAMA ON DECLINE AT SHS LEVEL …
By: Michael Akenoon
It is a fact that staging or play drama in our Senior High School these days is fast declining and heading towards collapse.
One wonders where this unfortunate trend will eventually lead to if something drastic is not done now to reverse the situation. Drama and Theatre Studies and practice have suffered too much negligence and marginalization in this country; and this has contributed greatly to negate the progress and development efforts that the country has been making since attaining independence in 1957.
If drama is to make any impact and contribute positively to the progress and development of the country, it must be well planned and organized at all levels of the educational ladder, especially at the Senior High School Level, where students ideally decide on their future carriers and professions before they continue their studies at the tertiary level.
It is most unfortunate to observe that at the bi-annual cultural festivals for Senior High Schools organized by Ghana Education Service, drama is conspicuously absent from the various disciplines that are competed for. This situation has continued to be so since the Cultural Unit (formally Cultural Division) was established in 1980’s during the era of the PNDC. It is indeed also shocking to observe that the Ghana Education Service has consistently failed to promote drama. It does not give much importance to drama as it gives other disciplines on the Senior High School curriculum. As a matter of urgency, the Ghana Education Service should consider the drama discipline seriously and put it on the curriculum.
In order to be able to make drama one of the popular subjects at the Senior High School level, I suggest that the Ghana Education Service should revise the Senior High School curriculum to include drama and make available trained graduate teachers of drama so that the subject will be studied and projected well at this level. This will go a long way to popularize the discipline and furthermore, become preparatory grounds for Theatre Studies at the University.
In fact, at the Senior High School level there are a lot of right students who have the potential for drama studies and would be inspired to take to drama, given the right knowledge and guidance by experienced teachers of drama. The development of drama at the Senior High School level also depends upon providing the necessary infrastructure, as well as the right motivation for the teachers of drama.
This writer, who has for many years taught drama at the Senior High School level and observed the scanty attention given it, he believes that students at the Senior High School level are capable of becoming great dramatic practitioners like playwrights and directors if they are made accessible to an ideal environment of drama and its practice.
The writer is a theatre critic.
Times Weekend Page: 14 Saturday, July 17, 2010.