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GEP or Not?

Congratulations! Now that your child has been selected for the GEP program, what’s next for him/her?

It might be an extremely straightforward answer for some parents but not so for some others. My opinion is, go for it. Reasons being:

PROS:

  1. It’s a great confidence-booster.
    • Your gifted child knows what “gifted” means and there is no better way to inform your child that he/she is really good at what he/she has been doing than being identified as the top 1% of the cohort in Singapore. A generally high self-confidence can lead to higher competency in everything else that the child attempts and an even stronger love for learning.
  2. It’s a label that will follow your child for life (in a good way)
    • We are always cautious about having labels put on our children but this is one label you want stuck to your child. With the label of being the top 1% of the cohort, your child can potentially find him/herself in more favourable situations in his/her adult-life, starting with the choice of secondary schools such as Anglo-Chinese School, Dunman High School, Hwa Chong Institution, Nanyang Girls’ High School, NUS High School of Mathematics and Science, Raffles Girls’ School (Secondary) and Raffles Institution which offers IP programs for GEP students.
    • (Source: https://www.moe.gov.sg/education/programmes/gifted-education-programme/development-and-growth)
  3. Life is more than English, Mathematics, Science and Mother Tongue!
    • Not only will your child be changing school (if he/she is not already in one of the assigned GEP school), he/she will be experiencing more than the main-stream curriculum has to offer. The GEP program is administered under an enrichment model where the curriculum:
      • extends beyond the basic syllabus in depth and breadth
      • covers more advanced topics whenever necessary
      • caters more to individual needs and interests
      • makes interdisciplinary connections
      • encourages the investigation of real-life problems
      • promotes the examination of affective issues in the various subject areas

(Source: https://www.moe.gov.sg/education/programmes/gifted-education-programme/enrichment-model)

CONS:

  1. GEP students are not necessarily top PSLE students
    • GEP students are very busy. Not only do they attend mainstream lessons and continue mainstream work, they have projects, camps and out-of-the-classroom programs to participate in. Their PSLE results may not show their intelligence since PSLE preparation requires much drills and regurgitation which are not in the interest of GEP students.
  2. Danger of complacency
    • We all know and have heard of children who think they are too smart for their pants and end up failing in life. And yes, these are true/real stories that will happen if left unguided. Some GEP students end up doing really well but unfortunately, some will slide off the grid and end up in mediocre vocations just like any others. The key that parents need to remind themselves is to psychologically support their children in continuous hard work and effort so as to ground them in thoughts of continuous improvement of themselves.

For those parents who think that the GEP program will be extremely beneficial for their children, they are right. The program will bring children beyond what they are capable of and help them reach their peak potential.

However, you are NOT advised to “train” your child for GEP by signing up for GEP-training classes at centers that claim to “create” GEP students because talent, although can be groomed, cannot be “naturalised” into a child. Meaning, if your child is not naturally prepared for the high demands of the GEP program, you will only do more harm than benefits by artificially fitting your child into the GEP program. Think of the stress the child has to go through just to remain in that GEP class you have planted her/him into. If it works out, good for him/her. If it doesn’t, the poor kid suffers the repercussion for life.

Once again, congratulations for being the parent of a gifted child, embrace the learning journey with your child, support her/him throughout the program and remind them of the importance of effort to achieve great success in life.

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