Local (18) gets B.Comm degree

2008-02-21 00:00

Afzal Modi will become the youngest student to graduate with a Bachelor of Commerce (Accountancy) degree from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in May this year.

The Pietermaritzburg campus student completed his degree in December 2007, aged just 18 years and two months.

Modi was born in India and started school there when he was three. He passed grade two while in India, and when he and his family got to South Africa, he was admitted into grade three after being interviewed by the school.

Modi remembers not being able to celebrate his 15th birthday as he was writing matric exams. After excelling at school, he began university aged 15.

“Well, I’m pretty stoked to have a degree under my belt, and the fact that it’s a B.Com Accounting degree is the cherry on top!” Modi said.

He said it is not unusual to find young graduates in India and mentioned a contestant in a popular children’s music talent show who is 12 and a third-year university student.

Modi attributes his success to his parents, as they have always encouraged him to perform at his best.

UKZN academic Dr Richard Simson, senior lecturer in the School of Economics and Finance, said he discovered Modi’s age when he was asked to conduct a survey that required a consent form.

“It turned out he could not do the survey as he was not 18. The irony is that you can get a degree, but you cannot participate in research surveys. Afzal was one of the best learners I have ever had. He was kind, courteous and very diligent,” Simson said.

Another lecturer, Nigel Hemming, also praised Modi.

“Despite his youth (or maybe because of it) he was not shy of asking questions and, on occasion, challenging my statements, but was always a pleasure to teach,” Hemming said.

nerissag@witness.co.za.

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