From the Hungarian Genius Programme to the Talent Bridges Project
Talent is a national treasure of Hungary, and talent support is a national issue; nevertheless, the knowledge of talented Hungarian young people and adults is utilised to a much lower degree than would be warranted by the interests of the country. The outstanding importance of talent support, however, is being given increasing attention nationally. Talent support has made its way to the public and higher education acts; the National Talent Fund was created under a 20-year National Talent Programme passed by Parliament, and 270 thousand citizens offered 1% of their ‘discretionary’ (given to a civil organisation of their choice) personal income tax; the Hungarian Genius Programme and the Talent Bridges Programme relying on its results is in progress, and non-governmental initiatives (foundations, corporate and municipal supports) also play a substantial role.
The implementation of the National Talent Programme is co-ordinated by the state secretariat responsible for education, based on the resources of the National Talent Fund: in 2010 and in 2011, NTF allocated HUF 1,538 million to reaching 312 thousand children and young people. During 2012-013, it will support talent programmes with funds of HUF 3,100 million.
Although the Hungarian Genius Programme (2009-2013) co-financed by the Union is still in progress, it has already accomplished the majority of its tasks, i.e. it has created a national public education network for the purpose of talent support which has a civilian basis, and it has established the conditions of the extensive unfolding and utilisation of talent (total budget: HUF 4,722 million). The programme attracted more than 14 thousand teachers/mentors and identified 24 thousand new talents in many other talent fields (e.g. arts, sports, crafts) other than those related to scientific/technological development. The efficiency of the Programme has been confirmed by public opinion polls (increased social acceptance of talent support) and impact assessments (training events: expansion of specialised knowledge and of the methodological tool kit). The Hungarian Genius Programme contributed to a significant extent to making talent support a national issue. Together with the line ministry, in April 2012, during the Hungarian EU Presidency, the Programme organised an extremely successful talent support conference, where the representatives of 24 countries deemed the achievements exemplary. In a short time, it became a model example in both the EU and the globally, and it has contributed substantial positive traits to the image communicated of Hungarians.
Main results of the Hungarian Genius Programme:
- The Talent Map of the Carpathian Basin has been drawn
- The talent network of the Carpathian Basin has been created: there are 867 Talent Points and 76 Talent Support Councils
- 118 new local educational talent programmes have been worked out
- 23,500 young persons participated in the subsidised talent support programmes
- 25 volumes of books providing professional support to teachers, parents and civilian helpers are being disseminated free of charge and made accessible online
- 13,987 (corresponding to around 10% of the Hungarian teacher community) took part in in-service training related to talent support
The priority project of the Hungarian Genius programme was realised in the capacity of project owner by the Association of Talent Support Organisations (Hungarian acronym: MATEHETSZ) gathering the talent support organisations of Hungary and of the Carpathian Basin (SROP 3.4.4-A).
The Talent Bridges Programme organised as the follow-up of the Hungarian Genius Programme (SROP 3.4.5) will assist talent support with HUF 2 billion from autumn 2012 onwards, for two years.
Main objectives of the programme:
- To create a national talent registration and tracking system
- To develop special programmes for talents in disadvantageous situation and with special educational needs (3,000 young people)
- To support outstanding talents (special personality support, skills development to 500 youths)
- To support the enrichment programmes (500 institutions)
- To support the peer age groups of talented young people
- To implement programmes strengthening the parent/teacher/talented youth contact system (with the involvement of 5,000 talented youths)
- To create a Talent Marketplace in the interest of the direct social utilisation of talent (by implementing 150 controlled co-operations)
- To involve/reinforce the domestic contacts of adult/young talents successful at home or abroad (target: to engage 2,000 mentors in domestic education)
- To train talent support facilitators and mentors (5,000 participants)
- To launch a communication campaign (to reach 100,000 youths)
- To realise European-Union-wide communication (in addition to the current 10, to involve 10 more EU Member States into the Hungarian initiatives, in co-operation with the European Talent Centre in Budapest established in the summer of 2012).