The APT Centre for the Gifted in Science (ACGS)
In 2006 South Korea proposed the development of an APT Center for the Gifted in Science (ACGS) and this was welcomed at a Ministerial Summit early the following year.
The President is Professor Sang Chung Lee, who is based at the Institute.
Apart from the three countries named above, other participating countries are: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam
Following a three-year gestation period, the first teachers’ workshop and students’ camp were held in January 2010.
The second pair of events are in July 2010.
Nigeria is attending as an Observer, under the aegis of the Local Organising Committee for the International Junior Science Olympiad, which takes place in Abuja, Nigeria in December 2010. (South Korea hosted the IJSO in 2008.)
The IJSO has two websites which each purport to be the official version. The alternative official website is hosted by the same Korean University that accommodates ACGS.
Activities of the ACGS
The Center describes its mission as to:
- improve and globalise education for the gifted in science;
- strengthen cross-cultural exchange among APT nations; and
- provide the environment and opportunities to enable the gifted in science to contribute towards peace, growth and development
It undertakes this through four activities:
- Providing training for teachers and administrators
- Organizing and implementing programmes for students
- Maintaining a ‘networking hub’ for students and
- Developing and disseminating educational materials.
Teacher workshops provide training and support resource development. They include substantive online preparation before the event itself, covering the theory and pedagogy of G&T education, creativity in gifted education and research on scientific giftedness in each participating country. The workshops carry substantial academic credits.
Student camps are intended to:
- Provide opportunities to share ideas and experiences;
- Develop students’ research skills and creativity and
- Build human resource capacity in science and technology
There are 100 participants – at least 5 from each participating country – drawn from junior high/middle schools.
The website also refers to a forthcoming ‘Junior Odyssey (of the science experiment)’, which was described at the 4th preparatory meeting as the ‘Asia-Africa Junior Odyssey’. This seems to be some sort of Olympiad and exhibition, but the relationship with the IJSO is as yet unclear.
The name suggests that the event will utilise team-based problem-solving along the lines established by Odyssey of the Mind.
The APEC Mentoring centre for the Gifted in Science (AMGS)
The ACGS website carries prominent links to related organisations in Korea, including:
- the IJSO (the Korean version of the official website) and the Korean Junior Science Olympiad
- the Korea Science Academy of KAIST, a High School for outstanding maths and science students in Busan, Korea (an interesting institution in its own right which takes in up to 18 international students annually and has a large number of international partners, including Camborne Science and Community College in Cornwall, England) and
- the APEC Mentoring Centre for the Gifted in Science (AMGS) which is also chaired by Professor Sang Chung Lee.
AMGS seems to overlap fairly significantly with ACGS, in that it services many of the same countries, under the guise of Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC).
It describes its role as:
- Establishing a network across APEC to support international collaboration between scientists, educators and students including research and data collection (six international Forums have been held to date); and
- Providing a range of educational support including:
- e-learning, in the form of online mentoring and lectures, both provided by established academics;
- the APEC Future Scientist Conference – there have been two to date, the most recent in Thailand; and
- the APEC Youth Scientist Journal – three editions have been published and are available here.
The AMGS site includes two very useful repositories of information:
- A large number of presentations made to successive international forums which provide excellent background on gifted education in science across the Asia-Pacific region; and
- Hyperlinks to several organisations that are engaged with AMGS spread across the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.
This summary serves to illustrate the rich smorgasbord of Korean gifted education in science and how South Korea is leading pan-Asian initiatives in the field.
I was invited to present at a 2008 Conference in Seoul, South Korea organised by the Korean Educational Development Institute (KEDI) so – to mix metaphors – I am well aware that this is the tip of the iceberg as far as G&T education is concerned.
I am sure we will return to look in more detail at South Korea at a later stage!