Japanese govt to support ‘gifted’ kids from next year

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry

The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry will begin offering special support for “gifted” children from the next school year.

Children with prodigious memories, powerful imaginations or unique talents in specific fields can have difficulty adjusting to school life, leading to discussions about the need for support.

The ministry will commission universities and boards of education to look into support measures — including precedents in the private sector — then begin rolling out relevant assistance across the country.

The ministry plans to include related expenses in its budget request for the next fiscal year.

In some countries, children with exceptional intelligence, artistic talents or abilities in certain academic fields are referred to as “gifted,” and provided with special education.

However, such youngsters may have disabilities or develop at different speeds from their peers. In some cases, interpersonal relationships prove difficult, causing some children to stop attending school.

Boards of education and universities will be tasked with creating flexible classes that are tailored to individual talents, collaborating with NPOs and other organizations that support children who do not fit in at school, and dealing with students who have both talents and disabilities.

Teaching methods and support measures will be finalized as early as by the end of fiscal 2023.

The ministry does not regard such support as “hothousing” — intense tuition or training— which could lead to excessive competition and does not use IQ scores or other such criteria to define “giftedness.”