India has lagged behind other developing nations in efforts to identify and nurture the gifted. The recognition of the gifted as an important human resource, and of gifted education as a crucial component of inclusive education, was galvanised in 2010 when the Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) to Government of India under the leadership of Prof. R. Chidambaram commissioned India’s first national project on gifted education: the Identification of Gifted Children Age 3-15 Years (With a Special Focus on Maths and Science). The decision to launch a national-level gifted education programme was initiated by an Indo-U.S. Roundtable in 2010 where the two countries agreed to collaborate to launch a gifted education programme for India.
The NIAS-EGT programme has enjoyed the strong support of the Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA), in Prof. R. Chidambaram, as well as Dr. Ketaki Bapat. The project has benefited from the critical feedback of the renowned members of the Project Review and Monitoring Committee (PRMC) under the leadership of Prof. N. Mukunda (Indian Academy of Sciences). The members of the PRMC who played a significant role in the shaping of the programme are Prof. K. Siddappa, Member, Hon. Director, JSS Foundation for Science and Society;Prof. Manoj K. Harbola, Member, Department of Physics, IIT Kanpur;Dr. Raghavendra Pratap Singh, Member, Associate Professor in Rural Development, School of Continuing Education;Prof. H. P. Dikshit, Member, Director General, School of Good Governance and Policy Analysis; Dr. Pratiba Jolly, Principal, Miranda House College. NIAS-EGT has also collaborated with overseas partners, notably with Prof. George Maria Scott, Prof. Jonathan Plucker,Prof. Joseph Renzulli from University of Connecticut,Prof. Susan Baum from Bridge Academy and Prof. Marcy Delcourt from the Western Connecticut State University, U.S.A. Over past 50 years, the National Association for Gifted Children has been raising awareness about the needs of the gifted in the U.S. The NAGC has engaged with the public in debates about equity and excellence, trained teachers in gifted education, and have educated policymakers about the dangers of leaving high-potential children to “fend for themselves”.
Starting from Mathematics and Science, the NIAS-EGT programme has expanded itself to support children gifted in diverse fields of social sciences, arts, etc. It has also initiated different programmes to support the gifted and talented students belonging to different age and social groups in both urban and rural areas. NIAS-MAIYA PRODGY Fellowship programme is one such initiative. The programme was initiated in 2017 with the objective of identifying and mentoring students in the age group of 16-18 years in both urban and rural areas. The programme offered financial and mentoring support to the selected students.
Another initiative of NIAS-EGT was establishing Advanced Learning Centres (NIAS-ALC) in 2017, with the objective of identifying and providing early mentoring support to students from about 11 years of age who demonstrate high learning ability and exceptional self-motivation to realize big ideas in life.