The role of education in the timely identification and promotion of human talents and their impact on social and economic development
By Professor Enos M.R. Kiremire
Generally, social perceptions emphasize society’s primary responsibility as that of nurturing and educating future generations (children) to become viable citizens. Society and its adult members usually fulfil this social obligation through informal and formal means, or both. It is a lifelong mission.
The ability to lay foundations strong enough among young people (learners), especially during their critical formative stage of development (0-12 years) could lead to production of potentially talented geniuses and inventors of the future.
In this respect, it becomes equally vitally important for society to find a method of identifying talented kids (children) at a tender age and nurture such unique talents.
Throughout history, conventional education has had a tendency of failing to appropriately identify gifted children, many of whom are often times confused for being “retarded, disoriented, addled, dull, disruptive or mad”.
For example, a number of renowned geniuses were initially not spotted out as potentially outstanding learners. They include the following inventors, who as young learners suffered gross frustrations:
Thomas Edison (1847-1931) was born in Milan, Ohio and raised in Huron, Michigan. Because he did not like mathematics and consequently persistently asked numerous questions, his teacher the Reverend G. B. Engle considered him to be a dull student.
During the three months Thomas attended his class, Rev. Engle became convinced that Thomas was “addled” (confused or mixed up or unable to think clearly) and one day told him so. Thomas was so angry that he stormed out of the class and went home.
The next day his mother, Nancy Edison, brought him back to school and confronted Rev. Engle, who emphatically reiterated his belief that Thomas was incapable of learning.
Nancy Edison, herself a teacher by profession, became very angry at Rev. Engle’s teaching methods which included regular whipping of his pupils. She decided to take Edison out of his school and teach him at home by herself.
As Edison grew and became more advanced in knowledge and specialization, his mother hired appropriately qualified teachers to continue the home-learning programme.
In time, Edison became one of the greatest inventors the world has ever known. Available records show that Edison innovated and created more than 1 000 inventions including the telegram, airplane detection, underwater searchlights and the electric vote recorder.
He also assisted in the development of a telephone, electric railway, iron ore separator, carbon microphone, and military related inventions such as locating the positions of guns by sound ranging, detecting submarines by sound from moving vessels, methods for guiding merchant ships out of mined harbours and high speed signalling, just to mention a few.
In 1879 he founded General Electric Company, a mega-multinational company (worth more than US$163 billion, 2006 estimates) which is still operational today.
Edison is particularly renowned for creating the electric bulb. On 4th September, 1882, Edison’s company which was located at Pearl Street, New York, was the first in the world to provide city lighting to 59 customers in Lower Manhattan, New York. Today, the electric bulb is one of the world’s most used utility.
Albert Einstein (1879-1955) was born to Jewish parents in Ulm, W??????’??