14-year-old whizz kid goes to varsity

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Fourteen-year old Chegutu whizz kid Maud Chifamba is set to enrol for a degree programme after making history by becoming the youngest student to qualify for undergraduate study.

Maud, who turns 15 in November, sat for Advanced level (A level) examinations last year and scored 12 points. She attained an A in Business Studies, a B in Accounts and a C in Mathematics.

The former Sandringham High School student was supposed to be in Form Two last year, but did the unexpected by sitting for A level exams, two years after sitting for her Ordinary level exams when she was 12. She passed four subjects with grade B and one with grade C.

She achieved the feat despite having to study from home since her parents could not raise tuition and examination fees.

NewsDay tracked Maud at her parents home in Pfupajena high density suburb in Chegutu where she was busy with household chores. She said she intended to study for a Business Studies degree at the University of Zimbabwe, if she could secure sponsorship.

After finishing my primary school I failed to proceed with my studies because of money problems so I just used to study secondary school material from home, Maud said.

After passing O levels I managed to go for A levels first at Pfupajena High School in Chegutu but when I got a sponsor I went to Sandringham High School.

Fellow students in my A level class used to treat me like a baby and never took me seriously. They constantly looked down upon me and often told me openly it was impossible for me to pass.

Sandringham High School headmaster John Mahaso said Mauds extraordinary intelligence had left him speechless.

She is a girl who has made history for our school, said Mahaso. We have children who do well in their A Levels but she made it different because she managed to get 12 points at an unbelievable age.

From day one when she came to this school after she had been identified by the Ministry of Education that she is a whizz kid, we saw that she was special. We thought it was going to be a big challenge but she proved everyone wrong, he said.

Her school fees were paid by Zimplats as part of the firms corporate social responsibility programme.

One of her teachers Tobias Mthunzi was full of praise for Maud.

She was performing above average. She participated much more than the other students in her class. She would ask questions. We wished we could have started with her earlier as she was really a marvel to teach, said Mthunzi.

Her brother Benjamin Chifamba, a food vendor who has been staying with Maud since she was five following the death of their father said he was happy with his sisters achievement but now faced the challenge of raising tuition fees for her university studies.

We are really happy about what Maud has done. The only challenge is how we will be able to raise the money that is needed for her university fees, he added.