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European Roadmap towards the Needs of Gifted Children and Adolescents

The COST Strategic Workshop “Meeting the Needs of Gifted Children and Adolescents –Towards a European Roadmap” took place in Brussels on 26 and 27 November 2007.

With the active support of the European Parliament and the European Commission, COST brought together - for the first time ever - leading European researchers in the field of high ability and giftedness, industry representatives and European practitioners.

The workshop mapped the varied activities on Gifted and Talented Education (GTE) in the Member States and addressed the absence of a European strategy on the subject. Education and support of gifted youth is key to achieve the Lisbon strategy and research networks play a crucial role towards its achievement.

“A competitive and dynamic knowledge-based society thrives on the talents of its people,” said Peter Dröll, Head of Private Office of European Commissioner for Science and Research Janez Potocnik, “the global challenges are daunting and therefore no European intellectual potential should be left unexplored. Listening to the specific needs of gifted children and promoting them can be an important step towards this aim.”

Hiltrud Breyer, Member of European Parliament, an advocate of the topic and keen to place it on the European Agenda, stressed the necessity to act immediately through a European roadmap on the development of GTE. It was agreed that the roadmap should serve as a flexible framework: pursuing a common vision while allowing the Member States who are in charge of education to set their own priorities. Nurturing excellence has to become an overarching goal at the European level while the Member States have to develop educational systems that promote every individual’s special abilities.

During the workshop’s final panel, the participants adopted a resolution addressed to the European Commission. The resolution lists objectives such as the development of effective learning and teaching strategies and the enhancement of international cooperation. It recommends the creation of a working group to help reach these objectives. The working group’s main tasks would include the creation of a coordinated European Gifted and Talented (G&T) network; communication management between all partners involved in G&T education and the development and improvement of teacher education and teacher training.

The final conference documentation, including the resolution, will be made available on the COST Website shortly and the requested follow-up activities prepared.

Dr Julia Stamm | alfa
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