Gifted children need help to succeed too

Those who perceive the Gifted Education Programme as "fancy" lack understanding about giftedness ("MOE must treat every school like a good school"; last Saturday).

Gifted children exist - and they are different. Contrary to popular perception, they need help to succeed in a school system designed for 95 per cent of the student population.

Gifted education expert James Delisle says gifted children need "to express their talents fully without fear of retribution from others... Their emotional and intellectual abilities may make them stand out from classmates in ways that require a change in curriculum or grade placement".

They are among the "students with different learning needs" that the Education Ministry strives to provide for.

Gifted children exist in all strata of society and come from different backgrounds. Those in affluent families will get help to develop their potential, while those from less well-off families could fall between the cracks if they are not helped by schools.

The ministry's commitment to "bring out the best" in every child should extend to gifted children too. If a different programme is needed to do that, let us not begrudge them the funds and support they need.

More of them exist than we think. Let us not make them "sacrificial lambs" on the false altar of egalitarianism.

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.