I know it all already, says junior genius on his historic first day of university

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 September, 2007, 12:00am

Nine-year-old March Boedihardjo faced the public yesterday to declare that his first day at university had been much too easy.

'It was too basic. I already learned this a year or two ago,' said March, who yesterday became Hong Kong's youngest undergraduate. 'I don't have any motivation. I know all of it.'

March controversially entered Baptist University after gaining two A grades and a B in British A-levels - believed to be another age record. The university is preparing a tailor-made five-year curriculum that will award him a bachelor's degree and a master of philosophy in mathematics, assuming he passes.

March's comments were his way of answering weeks of debate about whether he would be able to cope with advanced mathematics.

Apart from mathematics, his degree will also include Spanish classes.

About 1,400 students started at the university yesterday, but March stole the show.

Arriving with his father just after 8am, the mathematics prodigy had to push his way through a media scrum to make it to his first class.

Later in the morning, he addressed journalists briefly, initially reading from a prepared statement.

'Today is my first day of class. I feel very excited because I can continue studying maths,' he said.

March said classmates had shown concern and he promised to work hard on his studies.

'Baptist University is a new environment and it feels very fresh to me,' he said. 'Studying with classmates is very similar to the situation at the A-levels college where I was studying for the past two years. I believe I will be able to get used to it very quickly.'

Before making his unprecedented bid for a local university place last month, March took one-on-one classes at a college in Oxford, England, which normally caters for senior secondary students.

But he said he had not enjoyed his time in Britain, as life there was 'very boring'.

And apart from the classwork being unchallenging, March also complained that his university classmates had been quiet in class. 'They didn't seem to have any response,' he said. 'They were just listening. Nobody seemed to want to chat.'

But all the attention seemed to be slightly overwhelming for the junior genius. At one point during his press briefing, he turned to his father to ask: 'When can we leave?'

In the afternoon, March attended the convocation ceremony, dressed in a gown altered to fit him. In his speech, university president Ng Ching-fai called on new students to help March feel welcome.

Without directly mentioning March by name, Professor Ng said they should act as 'older brothers and sisters' to their young classmate.