Roadmap presented to regional support centres for gifted children and young people

28 February 2017

At the session, experts explored the opportunities for creating, on the basis of the experience of the Talent and Success Educational Centre, of a network of centres in the constituent entities of the Russian Federation to discover and support gifted children, including at leading educational institutions. This network will form a nationwide mechanism for supporting talent in children and young people with a view to implementing the strategy for promoting science and technology and achieving substantive results in Russia’s socioeconomic development.

Elena Shmeleva, Head of the Talent and Success Foundation, said, “We have the first systemic instruments. These include allocation grants of the President of the Russian Federation and maintenance of a register of gifted children. The Talent and Success Foundation is the operator of this work. We have been instructed to establish centres to discover and support gifted children in regions using Sirius’s experience. The main thing is to provide further support for these children.”

The speaker noted that systemic work needed to be organised to manage talent.

Elena Shmeleva went on to say that the Centre organised active sessions, up to 100 teaching hours, within the framework of the educational programme developed by leading pedagogues, researchers, and trainers, with a considerable number of established adult carriers of success models and new ideas for developing the economy and the social sector. The programme is implemented in three main focus areas: science, art, and sport, and incorporates professional, research and development training, as well as project work by school pupils. Furthermore, there are mandatory blocks from other focus areas… Custom-made curricula are also obligatory.

According to the speaker, the main challenge is talent development following graduation from Sirius, since there is no unified toolkit to provide further support for gifted school pupils. She believes regional centres need to be established to expand the regional register of gifted children and pursue consistent work following individualised paths with schoolchildren already on the register.

Elena Shmeleva suggested setting up a board of trustees and expert council consisting of representatives of the professional community at regional centres. Furthermore, sports clubs and leading arts and culture promotion platforms should be represented.

Andrei Svinarenko, Deputy Executive Chairman of RUSNANO and Chief Executive Officer of the Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs, spoke about the company’s educational project “RUSNANO School League”, which was launched more than five years ago. According to the speaker, more than 50 regions are involved in the project, including over 600 schools.

“The essence of the project is to help teachers develop educational and guidance materials for cross-disciplinary teaching of natural sciences. The other objective is to foster interest in natural sciences, including by applying a substantive approach to the subject, to encourage students to choose these focus areas as the main trajectory for their further development. As an outcome of this work, which spans more than five years, we observe the results of the Unified State Examination, which are 10 to 15 points higher than the average for Russia. The flow of leavers into engineering, technical, and classical faculties of universities is increasing accordingly, compared to the average for Russia,” said Andrey Svinarenko.

The expert noted that guidance, organisational, and teaching experience of the project is gradually being integrated with the Sirius system. He went on to say that all stakeholders needed to be interested in the result. “The model offered by Sirius is quite functional on one condition: the model must be injected with content not only from the Sirius centre, but also from companies, corporations, regions and universities. This is the main precondition. The second essential prerequisite is for the model to operate conditions when its participants enjoy what they do – their success will be guaranteed,” Andrey Svinarenko said.

Oleg Budargin, Director General and Chairman of the Management Board of PJSC Rosseti, spoke about the company’s personnel training work with universities. He said Rosseti had designed and established several secondary vocational educational institutions, invested in their construction and keeps servicing them. The company has 160 universities training professionals working for Rosseti. “It is very important to have a regional platform. A new citizen needs to have some place to return to. It is crucial that these elites, this new generation be forged within its small motherland… Rosseti is interested in training this new generation. Not only for work for Rosseti, but also for the sake of this new generation,” Oleg Budargin said.

Dmitry Morozov, Partner of the Sirius centre and President of BIOCAD, said in his speech that employees of corporations needed not only to learn on a permanent basis, but also be able to transfer their knowledge effectively. This process can be perceived as intergenerational continuity. He also outlined the need for the establishing regional centres. “We would like to interact with our children on a regular basis. This engagement will ensure deeper professional integration. We require regional centres where we could cooperate with our children a lot more closely,” said Dmitry Morozov.

Alexei Repik, President of the All-Russia Public Organisation Delovaya Rossiya, also spoke about changes in the educational process.

“What education needs now is to break away from those hackneyed old clichés and transform into a cross functional versatile model. A model in which a person develops their potential and skills in a variety of areas consistent with the convergence between these specialties, the critical technologies that define our new world,” said Alexey Repik.

The speaker believes that business should embed its ideas and ambitions in the terms of reference for the personnel training system. For his part, Andrey Svinarenko pointed to risks that emerge within the model.

“The first risk is that the planning horizon for business is considerably shorter than the operating horizon of the system. This risk is quite substantial. The second risk is the attempt to fit this model into the controlling function. Again, this can be dangerous, because significant numbers of KPIs will result in heaps of reports, and the results will have nothing to do with these KPIs. So it seems to me that we must proceed on the premise that all of these centres based upon this model have to share two or three indicators, whereas the rest of them should be individualised,” Andrey Svinarenko said.

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