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Introduction of Gifted Education in Hong Kong

To stretch and nurture gifted students with appropriate learning opportunities and challenges, the Education Bureau stated in the Education Commission Report No.4 that Hong Kong should develop school-based programmes in mainstream schools, which was affirmed by the positive outcomes of the research and projects conducted thereafter. The report, as a milestone, initiated the development and implementation of gifted education in Hong Kong.

The mission of gifted education is to encourage mainstream schools to nourish gifted / high ability students through school-based gifted development programmes to meet their educational needs. On-site and off-school support is provided to schools in facilitating them to foster the multiple potentials of the gifted.



Definition of Giftedness

Referring to the definition of giftedness by the U.S. Department of Education, the Education Bureau of the HKSAR affirmed in the Education Commission Report No.4 that a broad definition of giftedness using multiple criteria should be adopted.


Generally gifted children have exceptional achievement or potentials in one or more of the following domains:

  1. a high level of measured intelligence;
  2. specific academic aptitude in a subject area;
  3. creative thinking;
  4. superior talent in visual and performing arts;
  5. natural leadership of peers; and
  6. psychomotor ability - outstanding performance or ingenuity in athletics, mechanical skills or other areas requiring gross or fine motor coordination;


Dr Howard Gardner, professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, introduced his Theory of Multiple Intelligences. There are eight intelligences embedded in human mind, namely linguistic, logical/mathematical, visual/spatial, musical, bodily kinesthetic, intrapersonal, interpersonal, naturalist intelligences.

The above-mentioned intelligences exist in every individual's mind only with a degree of capacity difference in respective domains. Intelligences can be nurtured in particular educational settings using strategic pedagogical or facilitating teaching techniques. Gifted students may have exceptionally outstanding performance in more than one domain.

Currently local and international trends adopt a broad definition of giftedness using multiple criteria to formulate gifted education policy.



General Characteristics of the Gifted

  • possess high abilities in acquiring knowledge than the children of their age;
  • are prominent in collecting and processing an extensive amount of information in specific areas, for instance, poetry and astronomy;
  • are discerning observers;
  • persevere in efforts to find out the causal-relationship and carry out investigations;
  • are able to generate many alternative means to solve complicated problems;
  • have a delicate sense of humour;
  • have potential in leading activities;
  • are eloquent;
  • sustain their interest in a specific topic or subject.



Rationale and Principles of Gifted Education Policy in Hong Kong

The mission of gifted education is to fully explore and develop the potentials of gifted students systematically and strategically by providing them with opportunities to receive education at appropriate levels in a flexible teaching and learning environment.

To cater to the educational needs of gifted students, we advocate the following principles:

  • Nurturing multiple intelligences is a fundamental goal of quality basic education and should be the mission of ALL schools;
  • Gifted education should be part of quality education. The needs of gifted students, like their less able counterparts, should basically be met in their own school;
  • A broad definition using multiple intelligences should be adopted;
  • Exploring students' thinking and creativity abilities and social skills should be the foci of gifted education.
  • Schools should provide sequential and multiple educational activities to gifted students at different levels;
  • To compile resources collected from educational parties/bodies as support to schools.



Operation Mode of Gifted Education in Hong Kong

A three-tier operation mode is adopted in implementing gifted education in Hong Kong:


 This diagram shows the three-tier operation mode in implementing gifted education in Hong Kong


Level One:

A : To immerse the core elements advocated in gifted education i.e. high-order thinking skills, creativity and personal-social competence in the curriculum for ALL students;

B : To differentiate teaching through appropriate grouping of students to meet the different needs of the groups with enrichment and extension of curriculum across ALL subjects in regular classrooms.

Level Two:

C : To conduct pull-out programmes of generic nature outside the regular classroom to allow systematic training for a homogeneous group of students (e.g. creativity training, leadership training, etc.);

D : To conduct pull-out programme in specific areas (e.g. Maths, Arts, etc.) outside the regular classroom to allow systematic training for students with outstanding performance in specific domains.

Level Three:

E : The Education Bureau liaises with tertiary institutes and other educational organizations/bodies to form expert groups to initiate and develop external resource support for the exceptionally gifted (e.g. counselling, mentorship, early entry to advanced class, etc.) .


Services for Gifted Students provided by the Education Bureau include:


(i) Curriculum development and support

  • To encourage mainstream schools to nourish gifted/high ability students through school-based gifted development programmes to meet the needs of gifted students;
  • To provide curriculum resource and guidelines on school-based gifted development programmes as reference for schools and parties interested in gifted education;
  • For details of Learning & Teaching Resources, please visit the following web sites : [Gifted Education] -> [Learning and Teaching Resources]
  • To provide a range of web-based curriculum resources including Cluster School Gifted Project (Sept 2000 to Feb 2003) and Teacher Training Packages for School-based Gifted Programmes on:
    • Chinese Education
    • Mathematics Education
    • Creative Thinking
    • General Studies for Primary Schools and Science Education
    • Affective Education
    • Project Learning
  • To compile gifted exemplars on key learning areas;
  • For details of the development of gifted education and curriculum resource, please visit our Section's website
  • Tel no.:3698 3472   Fax no.:2490 6858


(ii) Support Measures for the Exceptionally Gifted Students

  • To launch Support Measures for the Exceptionally Gifted Students since 2001;
  • To provide individualized educational arrangement for the exceptionally gifted (e.g. university-based credit-bearing courses);
  • To liaise with local universities and tertiary institutes to provide professional training courses for in-service teachers and training events for parents of the gifted;
  • To systematically extend the scope of identifying the exceptionally gifted students and the areas of training apart from the current training to the exceptionally gifted in Math, Science and leadership nominated by schools;


(iii) Other services

Psychological services


  • To provide assessment and counselling services to the gifted students with special needs (e.g. behavioural and emotional problems, special learning difficulties), and provide advice/support to parents and schools of the gifted students concerned.


  • Designated section:
    Education Psychology Service (Hong Kong) Section
    Telephone No.: 3695 0486   Fax No: 3695 0553

    Education Psychology Service (Kowloon) Section
    Telephone No.: 3698 4321   Fax No: 2715 8056

    Education Psychology Service (New Territories) Section
    Telephone No.: 2437 7270   Fax No: 2416 2478




Tertiary Institutes Providing Support in Gifted Education

Programs for the Gifted and Talented, Education Faculty, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Enquiry telephone number:2603 7463 / 2603 7444
Fax number:2603 7435


Centre for Child Development, The Hong Kong Baptist University
Enquiry telephone number:3411 7249
Fax number:2337 8902



The Center for the Development of the Gifted and Talented, The Hong Kong University of Science Technology

Enquiry telephone number:2358 5084
Fax number:3521 0734



Academy for the Talented, The University of Hong Kong
Enquiry telephone number:2219 4890
Fax number:2291 0451





Other information:
Hong Kong Association for Parents of Gifted Children
Enquiry telephone number:3005 7711



The Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education
Enquiry telephone number:3940 0101
Fax number:3940 0201



For the latest news of gifted education in Hong Kong and gifted curriculum resource, please browse our Section's webpage at:
For enquiries, please contact us at 3698 3472.

Last review date: 15 April 2019
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