Ten years after the demise of the apartheid system in South Africa (SA), the ratio achieving gifted: non-achieving gifted is still woefully inadequate. The need for gifted learners to be better equipped for the challenges of a post-modern society and tertiary study needs to be highlighted, since far too many of the gifted currently do not stand even the remotest chance of achieving up to near their potential. Furthermore, the narrative of democratic change in SA during the final decade of the 20th century has been a chronicle of the demise of a “racially and culturally segregated and differentiated education system based on the ideology of Christian National Education” (Porteus, 2003:13).
The equality clause in the Constitution implies that all citizens will be treated equally, viz. “Equality includes the full and equal enjoyment of all rights and freedoms … The state may not discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds …” (1996, Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Section 9, Chapter 2). Yet, there is some concern about the possibility that gifted children might be “viewed with mistrust and dislike and deliberately ostracised” and that their human rights will not be recognised (Kokot, 1998:2) under the new dispensation (also see Sherman, 1997:3). Despite the publication of a number of official and media reports on challenges in education, “the plight of the gifted learner is seldom mentioned” (Kokot, 1999: 270). In the light of the aforementioned, the purpose of this article is to examine the necessity for and the provision of suitable training for teachers who are required to provide for the needs of gifted learners in the mainstream.