He’s only nine years old but he’s done with primary school: his courses of study these days include Solubility Equilibrium Principles and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
Carlos Santamaría Díaz is the youngest student at the Chemistry School (FQ) of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), having just celebrated his ninth birthday on June 29, and attends a chemistry certification course four hours daily, sitting in a classroom with chemists, researchers and undergraduate students.
The three years Carlos spent in primary school left him bored and and were marked by friction with his teachers. His father realized that Carlos’ “problem” was his interest in the sciences after he discovered his son studying throughout his vacations.
“A teacher in Toluca threatened to accuse us of child abuse because we were allegedly teaching him school subjects beyond his level,” said Fabián Santamaría. “The thing is, Carlos learns by himself, I don’t teach him.”
Looking for viable options to channel their son’s interests, Carlos’ parents got in touch with the Academic Outreach Secretariat of the FQ, a step they now consider “was the right one.”
Carlos’ subjects were chosen by professor Eduardo Rodríguez and the administration at FQ, his parents and the boy himself.
The professor came up with subjects that would spark Carlos’ interest even more: “His first module was a global view of chemistry, the performance of reactions and how they originate, giving the child a basic knowledge.”
Rodríguez and Carlos’ parents weren’t certain that the boy would be able to take the seven modules in the course, but he’s now ready for the third.
Carlos talked about his experience in college through a press release: “I like to be here [at UNAM], I feel like I can really study. I would like to study biology, chemistry or medicine.”
“I do other stuff besides chemistry; I sometimes watch TV or play with my toys, but I don’t have social network [accounts], I’m not very interested in that. I research chemistry or biochemistry . . . .”
Carlos’ first module was Solubility Equilibrium Principles, and he has just presented the final test for the second, Infrared, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, and Mass Spectrometry. He will continue with Biochemistry and Molecular Biology for the Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Industries.
His dad, an engineer, is overwhelmed by that level of chemistry, and unable to study with his son.
Carlos won’t return to elementary school this year. Instead, his parents say, he will be attending an online education program hosted by the European Union.
“He’s already been accepted and registered. The course begins on October 1. He’ll be in the fourth grade, turning in exercises every three months, which will represent half his final grade. At the end of the school year, Carlos has to go to the Spanish embassy and complete a written exam for the other half of his grade,” said his parents.
Once Carlos is 10, his parents expect him to study secondary school courses through a National Institute for Adult Education evaluation program.
Source: Milenio (sp)