Back in November 2007, a group of leading European gifted educators met in Brussels, Belgium – under the aegis of COST – to discuss progress towards a European roadmap for meeting the needs of gifted learners.
A full record of the proceedings can be found here, including details of participants and the resolution agreed by the group.
In 2008, a few of the original participants met with EU officials in Brussels to discuss the scope for an EU funding bid, to establish the European G&T network originally proposed in the 2007 resolution.
The officials we spoke to were very encouraging but, as I began to co-ordinate a bid on behalf of the partners, some of the German speakers argued that they could short-cut this process by writing to the MEP who had inspired the original COST workshop.
Needless to say, this did not succeed – and it effectively scuppered the partnership upon which the intended bid was to be based.
Now there is a great opportunity to revisit this idea.
During the first half of 2011 – from 1 January until 30 June – Hungary will assume the Presidency of the European Union, sandwiched between the Presidencies of Belgium and Poland.
Hungary intends to focus on talent support as one of the major themes of its Presidency, highlighting the economic and social benefits, including greater competitiveness, stronger social mobility and better social cohesion. This will position talent support as one key to unlocking European economic growth following the current recession.
You can find more details of Hungary’s plans here. They are overseen by the wonderful Dr Peter Csermely, President of the Hungarian National Talent Support Council, ably assisted by a team including the equally wonderful Csilla Fuszek, who works for the Csanyi Foundation.
Hungary has identified four main outcomes from its talent development theme:
- An international conference on the role of talent development in the 21st century school and the contribution it can make to EU competitiveness. The conference is scheduled for 8-9 April 2011 in Budapest.
- A first European Talent Day, building on the successful national talent days held in Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Serbia. The idea is to hold a series of national talent days, starting in Spring 2011, which will eventually be unified into a single European Talent Day by 2014.
- The inclusion of references to talent support in key EU policies and documents, including the next iteration of the EU Education and Training Strategy, covering the period 2012-2014. Hungary plans to promote a non-legislative act (NLA) on talent support.
- An Open Method of Co-ordination (OMC) Expert Group on Talent Support to provide a basis for ongoing EU-wide discussion of talent support issues. This will provide a basis for agreeing common objectives, establishing benchmarks and monitoring progress.
All EU countries are invited to express support for the European Talent Day. An international organising committee will be established which will meet for the first time in October 2010. In the meantime, G&T interests are invited to offer support by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
I have asked the English Department for Education (DfE) to consider this request on behalf of the Government. In the meantime, I am canvassing support from other UK G&T interests with a view to submitting a co-ordinated response.
This is a great opportunity to advance European collaboration in gifted education – one that we must seize with both hands. I commend the Hungarians for their wisdom and foresight in taking this lead.
Do please use the comments facility to ask any questions. I will, if necessary, get back to you offline.