A nine-year-old Belgian child prodigy Laurent Simons who was all set to become world's youngest electrical engineer has dropped out of his university after a dispute over his graduation date.
Laurent hit the limelight after news broke that he was on his way to becoming the world's first-ever graduate under the age of 10, post completion of his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering at Netherland based Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE), in December.
Currently, the record is being held by Michael Kearney who was 10 years old when he graduated from the University of Alabama in 1984. Kearney's feat is recorded in the Guinness World Records.
What caused the trouble?
In what appears to be a tiff between Laurent's parents and university officials over 'unrealistic conditions,' the child prodigy's parents wanted him to graduate before he turned 10 on 26 December, while the University recommended mid-2020 as the date for completion of the course. The decision was taken by the university after acknowledging the fact that Laurent's has several exams left to be cleared.
In a statement issued by the university it was said that Simons has rejected the new timetable. "His supervisors enjoyed working with him, not only because of his enormous talent, but also because he is a very kindhearted and inquisitive boy. The door is therefore still open for him to resume the study as long as the conditions remain realistic," read the statement.
Talking about the unrealistic conditions set up by Laurent's parents, TUE in a statement issued to CNN said, "This would still be, in every way, a phenomenally fast schedule. Laurent's father, Alexander Simons, had "repeated his explicit wish that his son should obtain his bachelor's degree at the age of 9, which means that Laurent must successfully complete his bachelor within ten months for a study that normally lasts three years."
University urged Laurent's parents not to put excess pressure on him
Earlier Laurent's Instagram account had a picture of the email send by TUE about potential graduation dates in December. The picture was captioned 'Liar Liar Pants on Fire'. The university had said that it would not be feasible for Laurent to complete the course before turning 10, while also developing "insight, creativity and critical analysis".
"If he were to rush the course, the statement said, his academic development would suffer," stated the University while urging Laurent's parents for not placing excessive pressure on this nine-year-old student who has unprecedented talent.
Laurent is now eyeing a doctorate in electrical engineering
With Laurent's exit from the TUE, the wonder boy is all set for his new adventure as his family enrolled him for a doctorate in electrical engineering at a university in the United States.
His father Alexander Simons said that the move to pursue doctorate was taken after TUE's decision to delay Laurent's graduation. "The way they treat things, it's not correct. Laurent is not their belonging," said Alexander about TUE's decision adding that previously it had no problems with faster timetable.
He added that the decision was taken since it will be difficult for Laurent to keep pace with two courses simultaneously in different institutions. Responding to the news of Laurent's leaving their university, TUE spokesperson Ivo Jongsma, said, "We never try to keep our students to ourselves. It would never be a motivation to frustrate somebody. Simons' had been open about Laurent's plan eventually to study in the US."
Meanwhile, Laurent's family has not disclosed the name of the US university or a start date for the course as they don't want to have pressure on the child prodigy.