Shogo Ando, Japan’s nine year-old whiz kid

The Mathematics Certification Institute of Japan on Tuesday said a 9-year-old boy from the Western Japanese province of Hyogo has passed a university-level maths exam.

According to the Kyodo news agency, the institute said Shogo Ando had been studying for the exam for two years, from the age of 7.

Shogo Ando, a fourth grader in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, passed Suken’s top-level 1st Kyu test, held in October.

The report said the boy was cited as saying that he would like to use his skills to combat climate change.

Testing and achievement is central to Japan’s highly competitive school system.

The Maths test is available in 14 levels, ranging from preschool-level to college-level, and more than 350,000 people take the test every year, according to the institute’s website.

The 1st Kyu test covers a wide range of subjects including multivariable functions and metric linear spaces.

The pass rate for the most recent 1st Kyu test was 14.4 percent, the institute said.

Shogo Ando will join another nine-year-old boy Laurent Simons as trail blazers. Simon is is set to go into the Guinness world records as the youngest person to complete a degree programme in electrical engineering at Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) in the Netherlands. Simons graduation is this month.

However, according to the latest data from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), Japan has fallen from fifth to sixth place in the ranking of countries by their school pupils’ maths abilities.

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