The European Economic and Social Committee published an Opinion, in January, on addressing the potential of gifted children. Among the key points expressed were
The EESC recommends that the European Commission and the Member States support further studies and research that would tap the potential of gifted children and young people in a wide variety of fields, aiming to facilitate employment and employability within the framework of the EU and, in a context of economic crisis, enhance specialist knowledge and prevent brain drain;
The Committee proposes improving educational care for children and young people with high abilities, in terms of the following aspects:
- initial and ongoing training of teaching staff regarding the typical characteristics of highly able students, as well as the detection and educational care they need;
- pooling of procedures for the early detection of high intellectual abilities among students in general and in particular among those from disadvantaged social backgrounds;
- designing and implementing educational measures aimed at students with high intellectual abilities;
The full Opinion can be read here.
Some weeks ago I had an unexpected but very welcome call from The Minster for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn regarding the European Talent Support Network initiative of the ECHA. The Minister said he was supportive of the need to address the needs of children who are exceptionally able and that he was going to bring the Talent Support Network idea to the Council of Education Ministers in May.
Both of these developments are welcome news and show that awareness of the needs of gifted children is growing very steadily in Ireland and Europe. GT Network Ireland has played an important role in this as has GiftedKids and DazzledandFrazzled and Gifted and Talented Ireland.
by Peter Lydon