Academically gifted and talented students make up approximately six to ten percent of the total student population. The education program for gifted students should be modified to allow them to skip grades and accelerate their progress. However, most gifted students receive the majority of their education in a regular classroom. For many gifted students, much of the time they spend in school is wasted; they have already mastered the material and are marking time until they are allowed to skip a grade or are permitted to take college-level courses.
Currently in the UAE, students are not permitted to skip grades. The Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) is working with international universities, to develop strategies that will support the needs of gifted pupils and there has been discussions of a plan to set up a centre exclusively for the country’s most gifted children but as of the writing of this article gifted students in the UAE are being held back.
Gifted Students Program Dubai (GSP), Initiated by Parents: Because the UAE school system does not currently allow students to skip grades, a group of like minded parents in Dubai together with Tony Barlow (The Learning Coach), have formed a support program. The 'Gifted Students Program Dubai' is designed to offer information to parents of gifted students to guide them as to how their talented children can accelerate their pathway towards college at an early age. The group also offers events, seminars and coaching for students.
Cost of the Program: Our aim is to include gifted students from all socioeconomic backgrounds. In the early days of the program, there will be costs for consultations, events, student coaching, camps etc., we are hoping for donor funding and corporate sponsorship for students in the future in order to reduce cost and expand the program to every gifted child until a government program emerges.
Eligibility for the Program: The program is open to students from aged 8 to 16 who are at the extreme high end of academic performance and meet our eligibility requirements. The process for application is listed further down on this page.
Vision for the Future. The dream of our GSP program is to offer a free accelerated middle and high school program on the campus of a major university in Dubai. This accelerated program will allow gifted students to race through middle and high school in a minimum of 3 years and have access to college level courses and enter college early. Based on the model of highly successful examples in the USA. This is currently just a dream but we feel the forward thinking UAE Ministry of Education will at some point help to make this a reality.
Even though the UAE Ministry of Education do not allow grade level skipping there are still pathways to an accelerated college pathway which tend not to by highly publicized and most parents of gifted students are unaware of the options. The Gifted Students Program Dubai will guide you through your options and we also offer coaching and accelerated programs for students through Tony Barlow, The Learning Coach. Currently we only offer guidance pertaining to the USA. The 3 main pathways are:
1) Early College Entrance Pathway - USA. Entering college at a younger age than the norm is very possible for gifted students. The Gifted Student Program will guide you as to how to achieve this and provide you with information to decide if this is the right pathway for your child.
2) Accelerated College Pathway - USA. If you decide that sending your child off to college at a young age is not for you it is still possible to accelerate the process of obtaining a degree or showing the ability to complete college level work by obtaining transferable credits towards a university degree by study and exam. The program has put together a series of fast paced courses and holiday camps in Dubai so that students can study for and get college credits by online exam through the College Boards CLEP program.
Click here for an article on Credit by Exam for Gifted Students
Notable Traditional Universities that Accept Credit by Exam
Thousands of colleges and universities in the USA accept CLEP transfer credits. Below is a list of the most prestigious ones.
3) Entire Degree Online Pathway - USA. Many gifted students who are bored and held back in school can now take an entire fully accredited associate or bachelors degree online by study and exam. The group offers guidance, coaching and programs as to how this can be done.
4) Demonstrate Your Ability to Top Universities with Above Level Testing. The principle reason for identifying highly gifted children is to help them get a better education than they probably would get otherwise. Tests designed for age-peers are powerless in yielding information to meet this end. One effective method of discovering highly gifted students is by above-level testing. The Gifted Students Program Dubai offers coaching and fast paced programs to prep for college level exams such as the SAT, CLEP or ACT for students between 9-16 years old.
Click here for an article on the College Level Examination Program
We've all heard the stories of very young students skipping grades in other countries. Click here for a good example of an 11-year-old boy who said regular school “bored” him graduated from American River College in Sacramento (ARC), Calif. with three Associate’s degrees.
Assessment & Interview Process
Our interview and assessment process is flexible and individualized, we may ask you to complete some of the following:
-Tests & Assessments. Individual intelligence and achievement tests are often used to assess giftedness. However, relying on IQ or performance results alone may overlook certain gifted students.
-Grades, school and standardized tests are sometimes used as data points during the gifted identification process.
-Self Motivation Level. This is high up in importance, if a student has a passion for high achievement and academics is not work for them but fun you are half way there.
-Ability to handle college level work. This is probably number one, as skipping grades is not permitted in the UAE. As soon as a student is capable of studying for and passing College Credit Exams they are ready to start our program. Our youngest student who is studying for an exam in College level Algebra is 9yrs old. You may be surprised as to what your child is capable of !
HOW TO APPLY
Step 1. Informal Meeting
Contact Tony Barlow to set up a free phone chat followed by an introductory meeting with Tony and one or more of our parent founders to find out more.
Step 2. Eligibility To be eligible for the Gifted Students services & programs, applicants must:
Step 3: Complete Application
Access our Online Application Form to complete the application.
Step 4: Notification
The Gifted Students Program Dubai does not discriminate based on race, gender, religion, ethnicity, or disability.
After joining our group an initial consultation will be set up to discuss a plan to accelerate the students progress towards college and a customized learning plan will be recommended. Students can either study by themselves and just receive guidance from the GSP or they can take part in our accelerated learning programs.
Step 2) Early College Fast Paced Programs (Individual or Group)
Fast Paced Learning Programs designed specifically for gifted students are available from Tony Barlow, The Learning Coach. Once an Early College Learning Plan has been decided upon, students will have access to fast track learning programs which will include: All CLEP Subjects, College Entrance Exam Prep such as SAT or ACT and High School Diploma by exam GED where necessary.
Fast paced programs take place after school and on weekends allowing students to gain college credits by exam at the end of the course. Programs can be individual or in small groups. Students will be coached on how to use their gifts to jump ahead and start college level work. Currently our youngest student is 9yrs old.
3) Summer Camp - College Credit in 3 weeks ! Accelerated program
Fast paced 3 week intensive college programs allowing students to gain college credits by exam at the end of the course. Students can take 1 course in the morning and 1 course in the afternoon if they wish. The courses will be taught by top teachers and college professors from Dubai.
Gifted Students Private Website
The private website is the hub of our online community. It is the central location for program & event information, as well as a place where families can connect with each other.
"It's cool emailing with other kids who think like me!" - Student
We are planning at least an annual get together for parents and students, so that they can share knowledge and experiences and make connections with other families in a similar situation.
Guest speaker events are also planned.
About Tony Barlow
Tony Barlow has spent the past 14yrs using NLP to uncover the thought process of gifted students and then pass on these mental skills to other students. Having a high IQ himself in the 98.4 percentile 'highly gifted' range according to the Stanford-Binet IQ test, at the request of several parents started looking into how gifted students in the UAE could accelerate their pathway into college.
After coming across the CLEP college credit program he took 3 of the exams himself and with just 9 days of study using his own techniques passed exams in Psychology, College Algebra and English Literature.
"Some of the students I work with have a far higher IQ and learning ability than myself and after reading numerous stories of early college success in the USA, I realized that we don't need to hold back our gifted students. They can start college at any age. I am currently coaching a 9yr old to pass the CLEP college algebra exam ! "
“Genius students are not some kind of freak of nature, they have a combination of effective thinking strategies, a passion for one or more subjects and they seem to have mentally matured very early placing them well ahead of their peers academically, which can be a blessing but can also cause some issues for them in school" Tony Barlow