THE GIFT OF LEARN­ING

Expatriate Lifestyle - Essentials Education - - Features -

Nav­i­gat­ing ed­u­ca­tion op­tions for gifted and tal­ented chil­dren can be a thrilling yet in­tim­i­dat­ing en­deav­our for par­ents, so we

look at the re­sources and schools avail­able here

TWORDS

here’s a lot of de­bate about what it means to be ‘gifted’.The Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion for Gifted Chil­dren Malaysia of­fers a sim­ple and use­ful de­scrip­tion of how gifted learn­ers typ­i­cally be­have; a young child who dis­plays aca­demic ca­pa­bil­ity and lan­guage pro­fi­ciency on par with that of a teenager or adult, for ex­am­ple, is a good sign that they are gifted.

Their dis­tinc­tive neu­ro­log­i­cal makeup sets these young­sters apart from their peers, which can be a for­mi­da­ble chal­lenge in other re­spects. Many gifted stu­dents are of­ten un­for­tu­nately rid­dled with emo­tional is­sues, la­belled ‘prob­lem­atic’ in main­stream schools or even un­in­tel­li­gent when they don’t per­form well in stan­dard­ised school ex­am­i­na­tions be­cause the way they ab­sorb, process and act on in­for­ma­tion might be dif­fer­ent from other peo­ple.

NA­TIONAL PRO­GRAMMES

PHO­TOS How have na­tional ini­tia­tives tack­led is­sues like these in re­cent years? The PERMATApin­tar pro­gramme by the Na­tional Uni­ver­sity of Malaysia (Uni­ver­sity Ke­bangsaan Malaysia or UKM) may have an an­swer.The PERMATApin­tar Cen­tre at UKM (also called the Malaysian Na­tional Gifted And Tal­ented Cen­tre) uses a four-step ap­proach to iden­ti­fy­ing and ed­u­cat­ing gifted chil­dren from across the coun­try. In the Tal­ent Search and Man­age­ment phase, stu­dents com­plete an on­line test, af­ter which they are short­listed to take a sec­ond test at des­ig­nated cen­tres.

The two tests de­ter­mine if they are se­lected to at­tend the res­i­den­tial School Hol­i­day Camp and even­tu­ally, the PERMATApin­tar Ed­u­ca­tional Pro­gramme and ASASIpin­tar year-long pre­uni­ver­sity pro­gramme there­after. In the school hol­i­day camp stage, the stu­dents par­tic­i­pate in en­rich­ment pro­grammes co-de­vel­oped by UKM and the Johns Hop­kins Cen­tre For Tal­ented Youth, taught by in­ter­na­tion­ally-cer­ti­fied uni­ver­sity pro­fes­sors and lec­tur­ers.

Other plans have been made to ac­com­mo­date gifted learn­ers in a main­stream school set­ting – the Malaysian Ed­u­ca­tion Blue­print 2013-2025 re­leased by the Malaysian Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion aims to de­velop and im­ple­ment a com­pre­hen­sive gifted ed­u­ca­tion pro­gramme for all Malaysian schools by the year 2025.

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