THE Government's scheme for gifted children offers too little. The territory's children have a key role to play in shaping Hong Kong's future, economically, socially and politically, and are likely to be a more potent force than any piece of paper bearing promises of stability and prosperity. Neither stability nor prosperity can be guaranteed from above: stability requires common sense and restraint, while prosperity requires initiative and innovation. An educated populace provides fertile ground for economic advance and political sophistication, and the intellectually gifted can provide the leadership upon which development depends. While the Government is to be congratulated on recognising the need to allow gifted children to exploit their own potential, it is regrettable that the authorities are moving too cautiously. The importance of the pursuit of excellence is now recognised around the world, more in China, perhaps, than elsewhere. In Singapore, and other societies built on Confucianist values, the importance of education is not underestimated. Although increased government spending arouses little enthusiasm anywhere in the world where people are capable of making the connection with taxation, the administration should spend more on, and implement bolder plans for, gifted children, and should encourage private companies to invest in this aspect of the territory's future.