During Gifted Awareness Week, June 15-21, New Zealand’s three leading gifted education organisations are celebrating giftedness, as well as advocating for an equitable and inclusive education for all gifted and talented students.
There are approximately 40,000 gifted and talented learners in New Zealand schools. The New Zealand Centre for Gifted Education (NZCGE), the New Zealand Association for Gifted Children (NZAGC), and giftEDnz, the Professional Association for Gifted Education, are concerned about the lack of recognition, resourcing and support for these children.
NZAGC president Andrew Patterson calls for the public to remember that a one-size-fits-all approach is not effective, particularly in regards to the education of our gifted and talented students.
“We need to think carefully about the understanding of fairness and equity and acknowledge that equity in education means doing the right thing for each individual.
Our gifted children learn and feel differently and need appropriate opportunities to achieve the ‘presence, participation and achievement’ indicators aimed at for all children by the Ministry.
Inclusion is one of the principles that underpins the New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa (the curriculum document for Māori-medium schools), Mr Patterson says.
“The curriculum states it is ‘non-sexist, non-racist, and non-discriminatory; it ensures that [all] students’ identities, languages, abilities, and talents are recognised and affirmed and that their learning needs are addressed.’
“The National Administration Guidelines, legislated by the Ministry of Education, state that schools must identify gifted and talented students and develop and implement teaching and learning strategies to address their needs.
“There are many in New Zealand who believe that this is not happening and thus the underlying principles of inclusion are not being applied to our gifted and talented students.
“It’s time for the Ministry of Education and the New Zealand Government to walk their talk and acknowledge that gifted and talented children have special needs and have an equitable right to a fair education.
“Let’s not leave anyone out of our inclusive education aims.”
The New Zealand Centre for Gifted Education, giftEDnz: the Professional Association for Gifted Education and the New Zealand Association for Gifted Children have released a Position Paper entitled ‘Gifted Students in the Inclusive Education System’. This paper can be downloaded from any of their websites.