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Lucknow's 14-year-old computer graduate
Polly Wilson in Lucknow | August 10, 2007 23:08 IST
Shailendra was awarded a degree of Bachelor of Computer Applications by the Lucknow University Vice Chancellor R P Singh on Thursday.
"We know for sure that he is the first computer science graduate at that age in the state", said a senior university official, while adding, "We would not be surprised if turned out to be the youngest BCA in the world."
He said, "For all you know this kid would get a place in the Guinness Book of Records."
The prodigy has an equally illustrious younger sister who set a record by clearing the high school class 10 examination at the age of 7 years.
Significantly, the siblings come from a family of a daily -- wage labourer, who makes a living out of some 70 -- 80 rupees a day. "I hardly went to a primary school in the village but my children are God's gift to me, so was always willing to work overtime to ensure that they could get educated," his father Tej Bahadur told this scribe.
He is grateful to his employers for supporting him in this mission. "And it is thanks to the media that both my children received unsolicited financial and moral support from many others including the university authorities who allowed Shailendra admission despite being underage.
Without ever going to a formal school, Shailendra learnt his lessons entirely on his own under the guidance of neighbours and teachers of the school where his father works as a labourer. He had barely turned nine when he sought admission in the National Open School from where he took the Class 10 examination in 2002.
Two years later, he passed class 12 from the same school.
Simultaneously, he cleared both Test of English as a Foreign Language as well as SAT following which he was offered admission for a Course in Computer Science at the Eastern New Mexico University, USA , but his poor father was in no position to muster up the admission fee of $1400. It was then that he sought admission at the Lucknow University where he was granted special relaxation of age.
Shailendra who is seeking admission in Indira Gandhi [Images] National Open University to pursue Masters in Computer Applications aspires to make it to IIM, and nurtures dreams of launching his own Information technology company one day.
"I wish to one day establish a company like Microsoft or Oracle", says the beaming kid.
"And once I am in some position, my aim would be to provide poor children with every opportunity. It is my firm belief that children from poor families do not need charity but opportunity to prove that they too have it in them," he adds confidently.