Abu Dhabi university offers child prodigy a place to study

A university in this country has come forward to offer a place to the world’s brightest 15 year old, who was struggling to find university admission.

Sitara Barooj Akbar has struggled to find a university place, despite setting numerous academic world records. An Abu Dhabi university has now offered her a place to study. Satish Kumar / The National
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ABU DHABI // The world’s brightest 15 year old has been offered a place at an Abu Dhabi university.

The National reported yesterday that despite breaking world records in passing examinations, Sitara Brooj Akbar was too young to get a visa to study abroad.

But on Tuesday, Paris-Sorbonne Abu Dhabi University, said it was interested in enrolling the Pakistani teenager.

Michele Anbar Haddad, master’s programme section head, said the university “would love to support bright students such as Sitara”.

“We want to discuss this with her and see what are her interests, how we can support her to reach her goals and possibly offer her admission at the Paris-Sorbonne Abu Dhabi,” she said.

Sitara said she would consider studying at the university. “I feel grateful that such a reputed university has extended its support to achieve my goals,” she said.

The university also said it would also consider offering her a scholarship.

Sitara, however, insisted that her aim was to receive a world-class education.

“I am not seeking any financial help. I will apply for scholarship if I cannot afford the fee,” she said. “I am raising my voice for my right to pursue education as an individual based on my maturity instead of my age.”

She wanted to study a subject she had a “passion for” instead of “wasting my time with other activities”, she said.

“I want to make my contribution to the field of science,” she said.

Her educational excellence began when she was 9, when she became the youngest Pakistani to pass O-level chemistry. She soon passed exams in biology, English, physics and mathematics, before gaining her A levels at the age of 13.

She is the youngest pupil to reach the top level, Band 9, in the International English Language Testing System.

She is not old enough, however, to get a visa to achieve her dream of studying at the top universities in the UK and the US, such as Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard or Yale.