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If you were to ask a six-year-old what he/she would like to do with their time, it is not far-fetched if the answers you get range from playing with toys to watching their favourite cartoon show on Nickelodeon or Disney.

However, the case is not the same for British-Nigerian Esther Okade who at just six years old was already taking her maths GCSE, generally undertaken by 14- to 16-year-olds in the United Kingdom, and getting a C.

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Esther Okade

Nigeria’s Esther Okade, who in 2018 gained admission to study for a mathematics degree, at the United Kingdom’s Open University at the age of 10

Esther, who lives in Walsall, in the West Midlands with her family, has always been interested in Maths. She wrote her first Math GSCE exam, a British high school qualification, at just six, where she received a C-grade. A year later, she outdid herself and got the A-grade she wanted. Then in 2014, she scored a B-grade when she wrote the Math A-level exam.

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In 2015, at the age of 10, Okade enrolled at Open University (a UK-based distance learning college) for a university maths course and began getting straight A’s as one of the youngest undergraduate students in the country. Three weeks after enrolment, she was already top of the class, receiving a perfect score on her first test, which she said was “easy.”

At the time of enrolment, Esther said:

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“I want to (finish the course) in two years. I actually wanted to start when I was seven. But my mum was like, “you’re too young, calm down.” So I’m going to do my PhD in financial maths when I’m 13. I want to have my own bank by the time I’m 15 because I like numbers and I like people and banking is a great way to help people.”

While some may credit her mom, Omonefe “Efe” Okade, who is a mathematician, going to university was entirely Esther’s idea. Esther’s mother, Efe Okade, noticed her daughter’s flair for figures shortly after she began homeschooling her at the age of three.

Perhaps what is most inspiring about Esther’s story is that she’s not taking advanced math courses simply because she can; she’s doing it because she sincerely wants to. Math is her passion the same way sports or music is for other kids. She told CNN:

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“The course is so interesting. It has the type of maths of I love. It’s real maths — theories, complex numbers, all that type of stuff. It was super easy. My mum taught me in a nice way.”

Besides becoming one of the youngest college students in history, Esther is also writing a series of math workbooks for kids called Yummy Yummy Algebra. Esther explained the series to CNN:

“It starts at a beginner level — that’s volume one. But then there will be volume two, and volume three, and then volume four. But I’ve only written the first one. As long as you can add or subtract, you’ll be able to do it. I want to show other children they are special.”

Esther told CNN about her dream of opening a bank.

“I want to (finish the course) in two years. Then I’m going to do my PhD in financial maths when I’m 13. I want to have my own bank by the time I’m 15 because I like numbers and I like people and banking is a great way to help people.”

The Guardian


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