Child Prodigy Laurent Simons Drops Out of University

Laurent's parents pulled him because he wouldn't complete the coursework ahead of his tenth birthday.
Donna Fuscaldo

Nine-year-old child prodigy Laurent Simons has been pulled from the Eindhoven University of Technology by his parents, killing his chances of becoming the youngest person to complete a course in electrical engineering. 

Simons parents had wanted the Belgian child prodigy to graduate before his tenth birthday on 26 December birthday but the University wasn't on board with the timetable, arguing Laurent still had exams he had to complete. Offered a mid-2020 graduation date, his parents declined, opting to pull him from the school instead.


Laurent was completing an electrical engineering course 

The child prodigy would have had to complete the three-year program in less than a year in order to graduate before reaching ten. Alexander Simons, Laurent's father reportedly said in media reports the university took issue with the media attention Laurent was getting, warning it put too much pressure on the child. 

"If a child can play football well, we all think the media attention is great. My son has a different talent. Why should he not be proud of that," Simons was quoted as saying.  He went on to say he doesn't care if Laurent gets his degree in 2020 but he claims the process wasn't fair in the case of Eindhoven University of Technology. 

In a statement posted on its website, Eindhoven University of Technology explained its side of the story, saying it's not feasible for Laurent to complete the course this month because of the number of exams he still needs to pass. The school said his parents turned down the timetable for Laurent's completion and chose to stop his studies immediately. 

Door still open to Laurent 

"As a university, we have delivered a great deal of custom work to facilitate Laurent's fast study path. This has required a major investment from teachers and employees who are already dealing with a high workload.," the school said in the statement.

"It is unfortunate that this customization does not result in a successful completion of the training...His supervisors have enjoyed working with him, not only because of his enormous talent, but also because he is a very sympathetic and inquisitive boy. The door is therefore still open for resuming training, under realistic conditions."

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