Our Desk | How to train our talents?!

Renato Marques

Some years ago a new word sprouted in the local vocabulary. Although it was not a new one its (repetitive) use by high ranked officials, especially  those related to the Social Affairs and Culture matters, brought it to a new life and… suddenly ‘Talents’ was in the pages of all newspapers, on TV/Radio and in the mouths of most locals.

The fascination for the word was so high that even the “Dóci Papiaçám di Macau” drama group, known for its humorous theatrical satires, took it to the stage in 2015 naming their play “Macau has Talent.”

Off stage or should I say moving into the political stage, around 2013, was announced the creation of the Talents Development Committee (SCDT).

At the time it was said that such a creation was “to facilitate the building of Macau as a ‘World Tourism and Leisure Centre’ and a ‘Service Platform for Commerce and Trade between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries,’ as well as to enhance talent cultivation to meet the needs of the society in improving livelihood.”

The government further explained that this was driven by “an increasing demand for talents” which had been grounded in the roots of the “rapid urban development of Macau after the formation of the SAR.”

When the SCDT was created in early 2014 it was also said that its role was “to stipulate, plan and coordinate initiatives for long-term talents cultivation strategies for Macau SAR, to devise measures (short/medium/long-term) and policies for nurturing talents, to setup a mechanism to motivate talents to stay and/or to return to Macau, as well as to coordinate cooperation among local, regional and international efforts on talents cultivation.”

Three years after and although the drive for talents continues, it seems that not many measures were taken to foster these “talents,” although I do acknowledge that to create talents is not an easy task, especially if we do not know what we should do in order to achieve that goal.

Recently I came across an article that enlightened me over the “talents” issue.

The feature was talking about a small organization called “Open Door” created by two young Indian entrepreneurs, the 30-year-old Aneesh Bangia and the 29-year-old Abhishek Kariwal.

What do these two Indian young “talents” propose? Only to train over 50,000 students in critical thinking, in order to foster “talents” for India’s future scientists.
Yes! That’s it! Two 30-year-olds proposed to train more than 50,000 children to be the country’s future generation of scientists.

But what is this “Open Door” project and how can they possibly achieve such a task? By “simply” creating a platform that helps children learn mathematics and science content with a focus on concepts and scientific thinking.

Bangia arrived at the conclusion that India needed this platform by pondering why his country has not been able to produce quality scientists in the manner other nations have done.

As he mentioned, “I could see no other conclusion but that, in our schools, while we focus on teaching content, we do not spend enough time on making children think.”

As the inventors mentioned, their focus is not on helping children learn the content, but on helping them develop the habit of thinking and questioning.

But for those who feel that is not possible to transform or replace current schools into “Open Door” projects, here comes the good news. The project is not a school but a project that currently aims to implement ‘mastery learning’ in over 100 schools, where around 50,000 students are discovering greater depths to learning through repeated questioning.

And guess what? The investment is not that high, and  after only a short time the project has announced a return on investment of around USD75,000 (over MOP600,000) for the 2016-2017 school year.

Categories Macau Opinion