There is something wry indeed in writing about Namibia's Gifted Education Awareness Week while living in a place so deeply in denial of the needs of its own gifted.

A number of years ago, my state finally passed a law that would give our teachers a chance to gain an endorsement indicating they had acquired the requisite skill and knowledge to teach gifted students. Mind you, using the word "gifted" was apparently too controversial, so the credential is for teaching "Academically Advanced" students.

About a decade later, the number of colleges and universities that have approved programs for that endorsement stands at zero. None. Nada. Zilch. Goose eggs.

The state has a person whose job includes gifted education. That represents less than 1/20th of her time. If she spends more than 2 hours per week on gifted, she has overstepped the limits of her position.
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So, Namibia, I applaud your Gifted Education Awareness Week! I celebrate the fact that your gifted students and the teachers thereof are receiving acknowledgement by your government at all. I urge you to both appreciate this moment and to embrace it.

Know that the support of your government, no matter how meager, is a precious thing. It can provide the pathway for your gifted children to lead fuller, happier lives. It can ease the way for their pursuit of both academic and emotional fulfillment. It can help to stave off all educators' - all humanity's - great enemy, despair.

The ideal behind gifted education is that every human being deserves an appropriate education to that individual's abilities and needs.

May my state and my country live up to the standard that Namibia is setting. And may we all then rise past it!

With thanks and appreciation to Roya Klingner of The Global Center for Gifted and Talented Children.

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philobiblius

February 2017

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