The National Mentoring Program was created in 2009 by the Division for Gifted and Outstanding Students in the Ministry of Education and is implemented by the Szold Institute. The program aims to cultivate future leaders in Israel. Highly gifted 10th and 11th graders are matched with top rate professionals in students’ areas of interest. They work for a year on a project of mutual interest. Forty-four per cent of students live in geographical or social periphery.
The article details program rationale and phases, and presents results of qualitative program evaluation. Each of the 50 students who completed the first three cohorts of the program produced high quality university level work. Some students also received significant recognition by the professional community, publishing their work and presenting it in professional conferences.
The goal of the National Mentoring Program is to cultivate future leaders in various talent areas. We translated the goal into two measurable objectives gauged at the completion of the one-year program.
These objectives include:
- Enabling highly gifted students who exhibit deep passion and curiosity to delve into their areas of interest and fulfill their potential.
- Presenting opportunities for highly gifted students to examine various directions for future careers in authentic settings.
According to the qualitative data presented in the article, both objectives of the program were met. However, we need long-term follow-up data in order to determine whether the goal of future leadership will be realized. However, we suggest that this mentoring program creates the nurturing conditions which may enable highly gifted students to become future leaders in their fields of interest.