The National Talent Point
The chief role of the National Talent Point (henceforth, “NTP”) is to sustain and expand the results of the Hungarian Genius Programme priority project, that is, first and foremost, the “TalentPoint Network”; to maintain and develop the “Talent Map”, a map of best talent support practices; and to manage the National Talent Support Database.
TalentPoints are talent-supporting initiatives, most of them associated with educational institutions, which are bound together in a network integrating these simultaneously working initiatives, establishing an efficient cooperation, while retaining the non-centralized aspect thereof. This network was managed and coordinated by the National Talent Point for 8 months. During this period, the NTP carried out all necessary tasks associated with registration and quality assurance (accreditation).
During these 8 months, the NTP partook in the creation of 237 new TalentPoints, more than a quarter of the currently existing TalentPoints. The database of existing TalentPoints is constantly updated on the Internet. The testing of the online registration interface of the TalentPoint database is currently underway, and thus candidate TalentPoints will shortly be able to supply their data online. In addition to the maintenance of the online searchable database, NTP also constantly kept in touch with TalentPoints, efficiently and widely drawing the attention of TalentPoints to various talent support opportunities and calls for proposals. Additionally, a number of TalentPoints received an expert visit in person (whose goal was quality assurance and accreditation).
Talent Support Councils
Beside TalentPoints, Talent Support Councils also form a crucial component of the Hungarian Talent Network. These are public bodies with a regional interest, which preserve professional standards and coordinate talent support activities in their respective regions. The NTP assisted the establishment and the professional support for the functioning of these councils by involving experts and subsidizing the expenses of expert meetings and visits. Again, more than a quarter of the existing 65 Talent Support Councils were newly established through the contribution of the NTP. A database of the existing councils is also accessible on the Internet.
In addition to expanding the TalentPoint network, the NTP was responsible for the maintenance and development of existing databases of talent support, and in particular, the Talent Map of talent support in the Carpathian Basin, an initiative unparalleled even at EU level. Four new talent support programmes have been included on the Talent Map during the project, and 37 new best practices have been collected, the evaluation of which is currently underway. This database forms the basis of and assists the calls for proposals funded from the resources of the Hungarian National Talent Fund, as well as the public and higher education schemes of the TÁMOP support system (the Social Renewal Operational Programme in Hungary).
TalentPoints have been provided with copies of the Genius library, now numbering 25 volumes, free of charge. The NTP took on all related editorial, graphic and typographic tasks, as well as storage and transport. Two good practices and methodological guides have been published under the aegis of the project as separate volumes, and studies relating to talent support have additionally been published on the Internet.
In addition to the Genius library, the NTP also bought volumes (5 different titles, 600 volumes in total) for TalentPoints that introduce the latest results in talent support or review the knowledge needed for the efficient coordination of talent support, to contribute to the professional level of the TalentPoint's works.
Organization of events
The National Talent Programme was instrumental both professionally and financially in the organization of a number of events.
The NTP organized 5 cross-border teacher training events, wherein the legal status of the accredited courses in the neighbouring countries is a workshop. These took place in Sepsiszentgyörgy (Sfântu Gheorghe, RO), Beregszász (Berehove, UA), Muzslya (Mužlja, SR), Szabadka (Subotica, SR) and Kolozsvár (Cluj Napoca, RO). At these events, talent support experts passed on their knowledge to teachers and professionals from neighbouring countries, and provided a forum for exchange of experience. Additionally, colleagues of the National Talent Point have participated in various talent support events organized by educational institutions, TalentPoints, Talent Support Councils and NGOs both in Hungary and abroad (taking place in Kolozsvár, Szabadka, Zenta, Tokaj, Kaposvár, Pécs, Nyíregyháza, Sárospatak, Székesfehérvár, Győr, Budapest, Debrecen, Tatárszentgyörgy, Beregszász, Gyula).
The NTP also funded equipment and conference materials, as well as the expenses of lecturers at two special events. The unique National Handwriting Competition and H-SNI Talent Day took place in April 2012 in Szentendre, and was a rewarding experience for students, parents and teachers alike. The DELTA Students' Summer Academy, held at Gyula, took place at the end of June 2012 and continued until early July.
Four additional events were organized in Budapest: Preparing for accreditation for TalentPoints (June 2012); Talent Bridges workshop (May 2012); Inaugural session of the Talent Support Council for Academic and Art Competitions (June 2012); and Vocational continuing training (June 2012; topics: talent support in the USA and cooperative methods). The NTP also organized two professional conferences, namely, the ECHA Talent Support Conference, in Tokaj in April 2012, with participants from the EU outside Hungary, and the National Talent Day 2012 in Budapest at the end of March 2012.
Several awards were also handed out under the auspices of the project. At the 2012 National Talent Day, 2012 Ambassador of talent awards was handed out alongside the “For the services for talents” awards. The National Talent Support Council's 2012 “Our new talents” awards was also funded by the project, and supported 3 talented youths via their educational institutions.
Communication and networking
The National Talent Point maintains a vast communicational infrastructure, a key channel of which is the website www.geniuszportal.hu which today has around 10,000 visitors monthly, supplemented by an intensive media presence and a phone-based customer service. The NTP's events and talented youths generated about 40 media appearances, excluding the online presence of the 2012 National Talent Day. In six months, seven newsletters were sent to more than 7,000 readers apiece.
As part of NTP's communication services, TalentPoints were informed of relevant calls for proposals on several occasions, and constant informational and professional support was also given to institutions and organizations on applying to specific calls for proposals of the Social Renewal Operational Programme.
The NTP thus managed to reach a truly wide audience to disseminate talent support news and ideas, and was also instrumental in both aiding and initiating diverse talent support initiatives, events and organizations throughout the duration of the project. The achievements of the National Talent Point contribute to the professional enrichment and dissemination of talent support, and set the scene professionally for the talent support work at the level of local administrative units planned to commence as of January 2013 in Hungary.
About the project
The Association of Hungarian Talent Support Organizations submitted a successful proposal to the restricted call for proposals within the framework of the National Talent Programme published by the Hungarian Institute of Educational Research and Development and the Wekerle Fund Management for funding the implementation of the tasks associated with the management of the National Talent Point (code number NTP-PONT-M-1). The project was allocated an amount of 70 million HUF, and its eligibility period was 9 November 2011 to 30 June 2012.