Frequently Asked Questions

What is NAGC Malaysia all about?

The aim of the association is to assist by all possible means children with outstanding gifts and talent to fulfil their potential, and to give support to parents, teachers and others professionally concerned with their development.

When was it established?

The National Association for Gifted Children, Malaysia (NAGC Malaysia) grew out of a National Symposium and Workshop on Gifted Children, jointly organized by the Faculty of Education, University of Malaya and the Malaysian Mensa Society in March-April 1986.

Our acronym or short name is NAGC Malaysia.

Why was it established?

The Symposium and Workshop gathered together all those concerned with the identification and development of gifted children, to discuss the techniques and strategies required to solve the problems faced by the parents and teachers of these gifted children. The response was overwhelming. For the first time in the country, parents of gifted children realised that they were not alone, and could also give voice to their problems and frustrations. They also decided that something could be done to help themselves. A unanimous decision was taken at the conclusion of the Workshop to form a national association for gifted children, and a pro-tem committee was immediately elected.

Gifted kids at risk: Who’s listening?

Who were the founding members?

The founding members comprised the members of the Symposium and Workshop organizing committee from the Faculty of Education, University of Malaya and the Malaysian Mensa Society, together with the parents, teachers and others who attended the Symposium and Workshop.

Are all the founding members of NAGC Malaysia gifted?

Being gifted is not a pre-requisite to be a member of the NAGC Malaysia; however all the founding members were certainly fully committed to helping the gifted children of Malaysia achieve their potential.

Who are eligible to be members of NAGC Malaysia?

Membership is open to any individual of 18 years and above desiring to foster the purpose of the Association. The spouse and the children under 18 years of age are eligible to attend all functions of the Association and use its facilities. Only the paid-up parent can vote and hold office.

How does the public join the association?

By filling up a membership form and paying the membership dues.

The majority of the members are parents of gifted children and parents interested in giftedness , who meet together through the Association for mutual support, to exchange ideas and experiences, and arrange activities for their children. The children can meet other children of similar talents and ability, make friends, and extend their interests together. The children are not required to pass any tests in order to join the Association or to participate in activities. Educators and researchers form a minority.

How many members do you currently have?

About 200.

What kind of activities does NAGC Malaysia organise?

To date, the Association has attempted to achieve its aim by organizing the following activities:

  • Conferences
  • Talks and Workshops
  • Visits
  • Courses
  • Social Gatherings

In addition to the above, the Association has built up a resource centre comprising videotapes, books, magazines and other publications on gifted children, available on loan to members. The Association also produces a newsletter containing information on the activities of the Association, contributions from members and reviews of publications connected with the subject of gifted children. The Association also collaborates with the Ministry of Education and universities on programmes for the gifted.

Why is there a need to identify and acknowledge gifted children?

Gifted children find themselves out of step with their contemporaries. Some have no difficulty, but others find themselves isolated and rejected by their peers. They may withdraw into themselves and have only a few friends. They may be bored with their school work and become frustrated and discouraged. They may deliberately underachieve to make themselves unacceptable to their classmates. Unless carefully nurtured, some will drop out from society and may even turn their talents to delinquency and crime.

For parents, a gifted child at home will be too much to cope with and they often need guidance especially during the child’s pre-school years. The opportunity to share their concern with other parents in similar situations and to be able to call on expert advice and friendly support is a necessary and greatly appreciated service.

What are NAGC Malaysia’s plans to promote its activities and further its cause?

NAGC Malaysia plans to make itself more visible, while continuing to provide the kind of activities that nurture young minds. A series of information leaflets on children of high potential has been produced and has been circulated to parents and teachers. From time to time, we also organize public fora aimed at educating the public on the challenges faced by children of high potential and ways to help them. Some events targeted at bringing together children of high potential and providing them with stimulating activities are also being planned by the NAGC Malaysia.

Are children born gifted or can they be nurtured?

Just as some children are born tall and some short, and some more chubby than others, all parents will notice that children are born with different types and levels of gifts and talents. Some children will have a greater aptitude for music while others will be more talented in art, reading, etc. Thus, while we believe that some children are born with a higher potential in certain fields, these gifts or talents cannot be fully developed without proper nurturing. In fact, most children barely achieve a fraction of their potential and they can all be helped with proper nurturing.

What is the population of gifted children in Malaysia?

The estimated population of Malaysians in 2008 between the ages 0-14 years is 8.9 million. If 2% of that figure are gifted (the standard common definition of intellectual giftedness is two standard deviations above average IQ, or 98th percentile, or top 2% of the population) – if 2% of 8.9 million children are gifted, then it would be about 178,000.

How can the educational sector help in addressing the needs of gifted children?

The needs of gifted children need to be addressed from the start, that is, from Primary 1. Material presented in classrooms must cater to diverse learning styles, gender needs and intellectual abilities, so that all pupils will benefit.

The educational sector can help by raising awareness of teachers to the identification & needs of the gifted, training opportunities for teachers to handle the gifted, enrichment/acceleration programs for the gifted i.e. varied programmes & not just academic — EQ, special talents, etc

 

Last updated – February 2013

 

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