A first-of-its-kind programme is formulated by researchers at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) to help identify talented children and tap their potential. “The origin of the National Project on Gifted Children dates back to an Indo-US round-table held two years ago. Three organisations—NIAS, Agastya Foundation and the Delhi University—came together to for the project,” said Prof Anita Kurup, School of Social Sciences, NIAS.
According to Kurup, NIAS researchers are looking at identifying gifted children aged between three to 15 years and Delhi University would mobilise them from grades 7th to 9th.
The programme, funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), looks to mobilise talented children in the fields of science and mathematics.
To create a scientific database of various traits that gifted children possess, the team at NIAS observed classrooms in 12 schools in Bangalore. “We observed each group for 25 hours and listed 58 traits present in gifted children,” she said.
The traits shown by gifted children include being curious, having a large vocabulary, being able to read fast, being able to pay attention and concentrate, possessing ability to process information, possessing creative thinking and having meta-memory skills. While an IQ test is usually administered to cull out above average students in the West, Kurup said a more detailed method should be used in India.
Kurup said the solution of helping children reach their potential lies in mentorship programmes. “We are creating a mentorship programme where these children are put in touch with mentors or provided with online resources or books. It is important for children to be with their own peers. So we are not interested in setting up special schools,” said Kurup who has been training teachers to help identify gifted children. According to Kurup, it is necessary to ensure that gifted children do not slip through the cracks in the educational system. “People think such programmes are elitist in nature but a talented child has a right to realise his/her potential,” she said.