Officials at Paulista University in Brazil said they had decided that Joao Victor Portelinha de Oliveira would not be allowed to start law school this year as he had planned. Although he successfully passed the entrance exams and a writing test last week, the university said he does not qualify for law school because he has not yet completed certain other educational requirements.
Like grade school.
"I want to study law at the university," said Portelinha de Oliveira, who is eight. "It’s decided." He told reporters that he had studied for a full week before taking the test. The boy’s father said he would file a lawsuit if his son was not admitted. His son can’t represent himself, you see, because he is eight.
The boy’s mother insisted her son was not a "child genius" — which I’d have thought was obvious, since he wants to go to law school — but was just a normal boy who had "participated in our discussions [the ones they had with an 8-year-old about legal issues] and took interest in current affairs and interacted a lot with adults."
According to the report, the national bar association in Brazil, understandably embarrassed by the fact that an 8-year-old was able to pass a law-school entrance exam, has demanded swift action to make sure this never happens again. Specifically, the bar has "called on the education ministry to ensure that no other primary schoolers are given the chance to sit [for] such tests."
That’s the right solution. Actually making the test challenging enough to screen out a bright 8-year-old would probably involve a lot of paperwork.