- Esther Okade is a 10-year-old British-Nigerian student
- She recently enrolled at the Open University in the UK
- Already top of her class scoring 100% in a recent exam
- Took A-level exams, a British secondary school qualification, last year
Your typical kid dreams about getting a puppy or meeting SpongeBob, but Esther Okade is not your typical kid. At just 6 years old, she was already taking her maths GCSE, generally undertaken by 14- to 16-year-olds in the United Kingdom, and getting a C. Now, 10-year-old Esther Okade is enrolled in a university math course and getting straight A’s as one of the youngest undergraduate students in the country.
When you first hear about a young child taking courses well beyond their age level, you might suspect pressuring parents to be behind the situation — a tiger mom, maybe? In British-Nigerian Esther’s case, it was the opposite. Though her mom, Omonefe “Efe” Okade, is a mathematician, going to university was entirely Esther’s idea. Efe said
From the age of seven Esther has wanted to go to university. But I was afraid it was too soon. She would say, “Mum, when am I starting?”, and go on and on and on. Finally, after three years she told me, “Mum, I think it is about time I started university now.”
So in January, at the ripe old age of 10, Esther enrolled at Open University, a distance learning college, where she is acing a course that many 18-year-olds would struggle with. But a glimpse at Esther’s lifelong determination, and it’s really not surprising that the girl has achieved so much in just 10 years.
Esther, who is from Walsall, an industrial town in West Midlands, and her younger brother have always been home-schooled by their mathematician mother, who converted their living room into a classroom.Efe Okade says that her daughter really started to show a knack for math at the age of 4, when she was already a wiz at algebra and quadratic equations.
I saw that she loved patterns so developed a way of using that to teach her new things. I thought I would try her with algebra, and she loved it more than anything.
After receiving a C grade on her maths GCSE at the age of 6, Esther went back to take it again the next year and got an A.
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.Besides becoming one of the youngest college students in history, Esther is also writing a series of math workbooks for kids calledYummy Yummy Algebra.As long as you can add or subtract, you’ll be able to do it. I want to show other children they are special.