Gifted education: issues and challenges

imagesIf the kids are a national treasure of any country,
gifted children are its intellectual potential.
R. Buneev

Kazakhstan is on the way of its transformation to be one of the 50 most competitive countries in the world. To achieve this ambitious goal, the country is overhauling its educational system to be able to produce quality human capital as it will significantly result in benefit for economy and society (Bhuiyan, 2011). Therefore, gifted education is considered to be a core element of generating quality human capital; hence, a great deal of resources has been investing into education in order to implement strategies to provide a high quality education for gifted children (Hernandez-Torrano & Abisheva, 2013, p. 86).However, from the perspective of a teacher and a former school student I think that the implementation of gifted education has some issues and challenges.

First of all, there is a strong lack of highly qualified teachers who really can recognize a wide range of distinctions of students and support them. It is evident that mostly the identification of the high level thinking skills and indifferent abilities in each child depends on a teacher. There are about 2.5 million students studying at secondary schools in Kazakhstan and 80 schools for gifted students within the framework of 16 NIS, 34 Daryn and 23 KTL schools (Amirova, 2013). However, every single school is full of talented students who suffer from being unnoticed. Though those elite schools offer good quality knowledge, sometimes even the teachers of such schools cannot meet the extraordinary students’ needs. As it was mentioned in the report for “Eurotalent” conference by the director of Daryn RRPC, the number of talented and gifted students is increasing and their need cannot be fully satisfied, because gifted students require prepared, highly professional teachers.

Secondly, there is one more issue which needs attention, in my opinion. As far as you know we have many special schools for gifted students such as NIS, KTL and Daryn schools. However, the competitions, Olympiads and various types of activities organized by the Daryn RRPC is for all students regardless their school type, whether it is KTL or NIS. Henceforth, it is not truly fair to mix the students of elite schools and mainstream ones due to the fact that the curriculum they are taught is quite divergent. The elite school students are more skilled in comparison with usual school students because they are purposely trained for such rigorous tournaments. Concerning the fact that there are limited places for talented students and it is impossible to educate all of them at once, the policy makers have to redesign the curriculum with the enrichment approach provided by the in-depth and breadth content. As a result, there will be a hope that mainstream students can take advantage of that and their unnoticed skills will be developed.

Having read and analyzed some policy documents and related papers, it is apparently seen that within the framework of “Daryn” Republican Research and Practical Centre and the schools for gifted children such as NIS, KTL, Daryn Kazakhstan has a strong belief that this new elite and gifted generation will put its own durable brick in the growth construction of home country’s economic, social-political and educational, technologic-innovational industries. The evidence from present days suggests that there is no doubt that education, in particular, gifted education has been changed in Kazakhstan. However, there is always something that still needs to be desired.

References

Amirova, B. (2013). Blagorodnaya missiya Daryn [The noble mission Daryn ]. Class time 13(61).

Bhuiyan, S.H. (2011). Transition Towards a Knowledge-Based Society in Post-Communist     Kazakhstan: Does Good                 Governance Matter? Journal of Asian and African Studies DOI: 10.1177/0021909611401565

Hernandez-Torrano, D. and Abisheva I. (2013). How to create enrichment clusters for gifted  learners. Pedagogical                   Dialogue, 3(5), 86-90.

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3 thoughts on “Gifted education: issues and challenges

  1. Dear Aliya,

    Thank you very much for your post! It seems to me that this issue is very urgent nowadays. Let’s take, for example, PISA results. As far as you know, Kazakhstan scored 59th out of 65 countries on the latest standardized exam administered by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development under the Program for International Student Assessment.

    Only after this PISA shock, authorities recognized the need to create environment to bring up children who will improve the future situation. Thanks to this, schools for gifted students were established!

    I, myself, graduated from such a school (namely School-lyseum #8 for gifted students). And what I have noticed during my school years, is that not every child has an opportunity to study there. Winning a place at one of such schools is really prestigious because tuition fee and extras are very high, almost inordinate sum of money for an ordinary family + it requires successful completion of the competitive selection.

    I would argue that these elite schools deny the right of all children to develop their full potential. According to the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan, 1995, the government guarantees free secondary education for all citizens. These schools have to enroll students on a non-competitive basis. However, most of such schools enroll students on competitive basis.

    As you, Aliya, mentioned earlier, in every single school there are talented and gifted students. Trying to identify them, and then, take them away from their normal environments, means that we isolate them in such “prison” schools. The question is: “Wouldn’t it be better to create environment where all children will have the equal chances to develop their full potential?”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is a wonderful and significant topic for many people in Kazakhstan. The minister of Education and Science Mr. Aslan Sarinjipov said that “Education is always disputed part of many parents, because most of them have children” (Sarinzhipov, 2013, p 96). Nowadays, my relatives, acquaintances and just young parents want to give their children best education. However, not all students have an equal right to be elected in such special schools.
    Personally, having a chance to study in a school for gifted students “Daryn”, I have found that the majority of students from elite schools. And they had achieved good results in UNT, IELTS or other exam test than students who studied in a mainstream school. Moreover, I will agree with your point of view that they are adapted and flexible, because they are purposely trained for such rigorous tournaments. Therefore, more and more parents are eager to give better knowledge for their children.
    Thank you very much for your topic choice.
    Reference:
    Sarinzhipov, A. (2013). Opportunities for faculty to influence academic matters at Kazakh National University and Eurasian National University. University of Pennsylvania.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you Aliya! Giftedness is the topic which I really interested in. “Education for gifted children” this expression is popular among the teachers. But not all of them know that does it really mean. As for me I have a lot of question. How can we identify the giftedness of the children? How to teach gifted children? What to do if the child is not gifted? These are the question to I want to find answers in order to work with gifted children.
    It is pity that not all teachers understand the term giftedness. Some teachers just provide more tasks for such children and think that it is enough. I do not want such kind of mistakes. Thus, as a teacher I really seek to know more about giftedness and looking forward to attend the courses that will allows me it.

    Like

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