The Tempinis diaries

April 1, 2008

How Malaysia has failed its gifted children

Filed under: education, malaysia, singapore — Tags: , , , , — toru @ 12:19 pm

This is a follow up post on Sufiah Yusof. It must be really difficult being a child genius. Growing up from your awkward phase is already hard enough – imagine being put in a class where everyone is much older than you. Also, all that expectations heaped on a child can’t be healthy. Besides Sufiah Yusof, the other Malaysian genius, Chiang Ti-Ming, also had an extremely difficult time coping with the pressure. There is also a newspaper story on Ti Ming below.

Perhaps, for these kids the answer is not to put them with older kids or in a university. A more safe and nurturing environment may be to place them with other gifted kids. In the article below written in 1997, Lim Kit Siang talked about how Malaysia has failed its gifted children. I contrast this with the story below on NUS High School written in 2006. What Lim Kit Siang proposed then is now a reality in Singapore in the form of NUS High School. One can’t help but feel gratified and inspired by reading the stories of these talented young children. Hopefully, students like Carmen Cheh from Perak will grow up to be happy and well-adjusted adults. If only Sufiah and Ti-Ming had such schools where they live. Perhaps, they wouldn’t have suffered as much.

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Sunday August 13, 2006
School for aspiring Einsteins and Hawkings

Singapore Straits Times education correspondent SANDRA DAVIE visited NUS High School of Maths and Science to try and keep up with the young Einsteins, and came away impressed.
IT IS a lesson on contraceptive methods for a group of 15-year-olds. At any other secondary school, a topic like this would have brought on blushes and giggles.

Not at the National University of Singapore High School of Mathematics and Science (NUS High). The 14 boys and 10 girls in a class taught by a young biology PhD graduate are more interested in the science of contraception.

After Dr Seah Wee Khee, 27, shows them a condom, the intra-uterine device and diaphragm, they launch into spirited sparring.

Year Four students (from left) Zhai Wei Chao, Zhao Ye, Lei Lei and Tan Li, hanging out at the Astronomy Club’s observatory which sits atop the roof of the 12-storey hostel. – ST/ANN pic

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