Keep the festival’s spirit alive

Education Minister V Sivankutty expressed the hope that starting this year, the competition will be among the aspiring artists themselves and not among the parents or teachers while briefing the media on the preparations for the Kerala School Arts Festival, which will start on January 3 in Kozhikode.

There is no ambiguity regarding the minister’s intentions. In the past, educators and parents frequently transformed the festival site into a ‘battle zone.’ There were numerous instances of kids and parents belligerently addressing the judges after the courts’ verdict went against them. Parents and educators have not taught their charges or themselves how to accept failure with grace and composure.

All attempts to end such behaviours and get rid of middlemen—who profit while polluting the environment—have failed. The growing number of appeals, a side effect of the mechanism put in place to help resolve real complaints, is equally unsettling. Almost every competitor who is rejected for first place is now hurrying to the appeals committee, as we can see. Parents go to court if their appeal is rejected. Some attorneys charge exorbitant fees for their services because they specialise in appearing in these types of cases.

The festival’s operations are now negatively impacted by the appeal procedure, which has become a significant annoyance. The last-minute arrival of a student with a court order keeps the organisers on their toes. In addition to causing uncertainty, it throws off the festival’s entire timetable.

After waiting for hours for their turn, children in elaborate costumes and makeup display their thing while only partially awake. To limit the number of attendees at the state festival, the government has ultimately agreed to permit only a certain number of appeals at the district level. But doing this won’t resolve the issue on its own.

The teachers’ and parents’ mentalities need to alter. They must understand that engaging in activities brings delight, not winning over others. To maintain the festival’s atmosphere and ensure that the kids’ talents are not minimised, organisers, parents, and instructors must work together.


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