Malaysia Should Not Lose Its Talented Children To Other Countries, Urges PM’s Wife


By Saiful Bahri Kamaruddin
Pix Abd Ra’ai Osman

BANGI, 8 December 2014 – Malaysia must ensure that it will not lose its exceptionally talented and gifted youngsters to other countries which are ever ready to meet their needs.

The Prime Minister’s wife Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor said parents of such children should be convinced that the country has facilities to nurture their talents.

Giving her keynote address and opening the International Conference On Gifted And Talented Education (ic-GATE) 2014 here today, the patron of the Permata programme said many gifted students choose home-schooling when parents feel the present education system is not challenging enough for their children.

“I know of parents who have migrated because of the lack of facilities in this country. It is a waste of talent and opportunity if we do not do something to nurture the gifted children,” she said.

There are up to 11000 of such individuals in the country and Malaysia needed to ensure that it will not lose them to other countries.

Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah said research showed for every 1,000 students, there would be one highly gifted student. Some of these children possess particularly advanced and well-developed skills and abilities in one or more areas.

Some are gifted in memorising the Quran at a very early age others are able to solve mathematical problems. Others are academically gifted and while also having flawless musical talent.

She said that she managed to convince her husband the prime minister that the country should do its best to provide early childhood education as well as uncovering and nurturing talents among the young.

Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah also spoke with pride that The National University of Malaysia (UKM) has been the backbone of the PERMATApintar programme while the Permata Insan programme is supported by Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM). PERMATApintar at UKM is an academy for children who are exceptionally gifted academically as well as in music.

The PERMATA programme starts with Permata negara early childhood education and care (ECEC) programme for children aged 5 and younger from rural areas and disadvantaged urban families.

To complement the ECEC programme, PERMATA also launched the Permata Pintar, Permata Insan and Permata Seni to identify and nurture gifted children who excel academically, in religious studies as well as in the performing arts.

The three-day ic-GATE conference with the theme ‘Celebrating Diversity in Giftedness’ attracted renowned researchers from all over the world such as Professor Francoys Gagne from the University of Quebec, Canada and Emerita Prof Joyce van Tassel Baska from the College of William and Mary, USA.

Present at the launch were UKM Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and International Affairs) Prof Ir Dr Riza Atiq OK Rahmat Abdullah, former UKM Vice-Chancellor Prof Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr Sharifah Hapsah Syed Hasan Shahabudin, the Director of PERMATAPintar Negara Centre Prof Datuk Dr Noriah Ishak and Undersecretary of PERMATA division at the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Saidatu Akhma Hassan.