New European Talent Centre in Slovenia

As a part of the annual conference of CRSN on Gifted Education held in August 2016 the Slovenian stakeholders of gifted and talented education held a round table discussion in connection with the forming European Talent Support Network. One of the reasons of the meeting was the fact that the Educational Psychology department of the Pedagogical Faculty of the University of Ljubljana became a European Talent Centre. Csilla Fuszek, the director of the European Talent Centre Budapest also took part in the discussion.

The head of that Department is Assistant Professor Mojca Juriševič  PhD, author of several articles in the field of development of gifted and highly able children. She is a member of ECHA.

We asked Mojca Juriševič about the present and planned activities of the newly registered Centre.

MJ: The Center for Research and Promotion of Talent (CRSN) was established in the academic year of 2010/2011 as a part of the Pedagogical Faculty of the University of Ljubljana. The Center has multiple activities based on research in the field giftedness and its promotion. The aims of CRSN follow the vision outlined in the country’s development strategy for the years 2013-2020:

  • to conduct both basic and applied research in the field of giftedness in national and international environment;
  • To conduct research in giftedness (fundamental and applied, national and international).
  • To support The Faculty of Education UL in study programmes, research and professional work.
  • To enhance the development and promotion of educational projects for the gifted.
  • To offer testing and counselling support for the gifted students to the interested stakeholders.
  • To cooperate in preparing educational policies.
  • To build up a network with different institutions at home and internationally.

What sorts of activities are conducted in CRSN in order to achieve the above aims?

MJ: Since its establishment CRSN has taken part in different activities in the field of talent and giftedness and put a great emphasis on stimulating the environment and raising the awareness of the importance of gifted education among a number of stakeholders. Considering that its main contributions involve the participation in the shaping of national educational policy in the field of gifted education by writing a chapter in the White Paper on Education in the Republic of Slovenia in 2011. In the academic year of 2011/2012 we conducted a national survey on gifted education in the primary and secondary schools. Members of CRSN have been involved in national and international research projects and taken part in adapting various research instruments on giftedness and creativity. CRSN organizes annual meetings for psychologists and school counsellors on topics related to gifted education like the identification of giftedness in children and young people and the role of psychology in gifted education. In 2013 CRSN joined the initiative of the World Council of Gifted and Talented Children in celebrating the Year of Giftedness and Talent and organized conferences for teachers. Approximately 1000 teachers and school counsellors  participated in the one-day events.

CRSN is very active in the translation and adaptation of foreign publications of the field and in publishing their own achievements for the teachers and other professionals in the field of gifted education in Slovenia.
CRSN already has several cooperation partners both in Slovenia and abroad that are active in the support of gifted education. Also members of CRSN integrate the topic of giftedness and creativity in the curricula of pre-service and in-service teacher education in both core and elective subjects.

A major step towards European cooperation was the 14th Conference of ECHA held in Ljubljana in September 2014 and organized in cooperation with our Centre attracted 250 participants from all over the world. Besides promoting special events for gifted children in Slovenia, as a part of international cooperative activities members of CRSN take part in international events on gifted education.

What are your plans for the future?

MJ: CRSN will continue the work started in 2010/11 and take special efforts in collaboration at national level.  In addition we want to organize regional and national events for the support of the gifted and talented youngsters. We’ll develop training programs for the teachers and parents of gifted children and will coordinate potential research programs in the field. We want to secure financial resources for our activities.

How do you want to take part in the European network?

MJ:. We are willing to provide high quality and up-to-date information on theoretical and practical issues of gifted education to both the European Talent Centres and the potential European Talent Points. We want to take part in discussions with other European Talent Centres also in formulating proposals and joint actions at European level. We want to be involved in the planning and coordinating of joint actions for the support of highly able young people – like talent days, joint camps and courses, etc.

We are providing an overview and current information on the talent support activities of our region including the registration, help and coordination of potential European Talent Points and Talent Centres. We are willing to cooperate with other European Talent Centres in other countries and with ECHA and similar organizations in organizing joint actions, submitting joint proposals and grant applications to various supporting bodies like the European Union, discussing policies and guidelines in the field of giftedness and high ability. Moreover CRNS is willing to influence decisions on regional, national and European level in the field of promoting the gifted.

We are ready to welcome visits of experts, representatives of partner organizations and talented young people of other European Talent Centres and Talent points.

As part of international cooperation we want to translate and publish important publications from other languages to Slovenian and vice versa.

As I previously said I see networking as one of the right ways to improve gifted education, The processes linked to this networking like sharing, learning and development lead to excellence.

photo of Mojca JuriševičMojca Juriševič PhD is an associate professor of educational psychology at the Faculty of Education of the University of Ljubljana. She is the head of the Centre for Research and Promotion of Giftedness and a member of the National Group of Experts in Gifted Education in Slovenia. She is the author of a chapter on gifted education in the White Paper on Education in the Republic of Slovenia (2011). She is member of the European Council fro High Ability (ECHA) and a national delegate to the World Council of Gifted and Talented Children (WGTC)

Talent is a special kind of natural resource that is available in every country.