Experts say it is important to have a system in place for working with gifted and talented children

24 august 2016

“Every human being is a talent. Whether or not they are going to achieve success in life, however, depends on whether their talent gets discovered, whether they get a chance to put their gifts to use,” says the Head of the Department for State Policy in the Education for Children and Youths of the Russian Ministry for Education and Science Alexander Stradze opening his address at a round table in the Analytical Center with a quote from the Concept for the Nation-Wide System for the Identification and Development of the Talented Youth. Today, regulations have been developed for identifying gifted children and talented youths. They are being refined now and a whole host of measures are in place in the regions, Mr. Stradze noted.

The Ministry for Education and Science representative reminded those present that last year government resolution No. 1239 was passed that defines the rules for identifying and keeping track of gifted children. The document is now beginning to be used in earnest. In addition, since 2014, the Ministry for Education and Science has been holding the Russian National Science-to-Practice Conference on the Challenges of Working with Gifted Children, which has been serving as a venue to discuss professional development of educations that work with highly motivated students. The government official believes that all of these efforts are bound to lead to results in the future.

Mr. Stradze then talked about the measures the government has been putting in place to help talented youths, one of which is the presidential awards. “However, at the moment we are trying to create a new mechanism. Instead of money, support should come in the form of certificates and grants for education, to ensure children can get quality education in the field they are interested in,” the official said. Then there are such measures as the Russian National Contest of Youth Projects and state support of young researchers.

In Russia, gifted children are discovered through a system of Olympiads and contests, Analytical Center expert Inna Karakchieva noted. According to her, it is a well-developed system but it is not enough. “Our analysis of international practices suggests that there exist different approaches to creating a national system for identifying and helping young talents,” the expert said. - “’There are models that put talented youths into specialized schools or classes and there are models where their education is integrated into the overall education system. We are using both approaches at the same time.”

Lead researcher of the Russian Academy of Sciences Irina Komarova believes that the opportunities for discovering gifted kids are in decline in Russia as not enough attention is being paid to preschoolers. “We are completely ignoring a very important age group: the preschoolers. In the West, a lot of attention is paid to preschoolers because the return on investment in that age group is far greater than when you work with grade and high school students,” the expert believes.

During the round table the experts paid special attention to networking among talented kids, educators and to project activities.