[photopress:mba_superbright.jpg,full,alignright]China’s first program for gifted youngsters is to celebrate its 30th birthday on Friday in east China’s Anhui Province.
The prodigy program, or the ‘Juvenile Class’, was set up at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) in 1978 at the suggestion of Yang Chen-ning and Lee Tsung-dao, two Nobel laureates in physics.
It was specially set up to train talented children as quickly as possible and shorten the period needed to produce top-class scientists.
In most cases in the world where this has been tried the results have been unsatisfactory. This may not be not the case in China.
Most of the children in the program have continued to succeed academically and professionally.
More than 91% of the 1,000-plus graduates of the program went on to postgraduate studies at home or abroad, and 590 had received doctorates.
Some have raised doubts about the ‘prodigy program’, saying that such competition at a young age is cruel and counterproductive. ne netizen commented, ‘It is destructive enthusiasm.’
A number of prestigious universities in China have launched similar programs. All of them, however, abandoned the programs for different reasons.
Experts hold that the success of the program lies in its tailored curricula and unique ways of instruction, which have catered to the interests of children and fully exploited their potential.
Unlike other college students who concentrate on a specific field from their freshman year, the gifted youngsters do not choose a major until the third year, when they would choose the field that they are most interested in for further studies.
Most of the gifted students were chosen through recommendation by their parents, educational departments, news coverage and through contests.
Source: China View