Adi Putra’s Dilemma

For those who've read today's The Star article, Genius Finds School Boring, on our very own child prodigy and Maths genius, 7 year old Adi Putra, the fact that the boy finds the public school system boring is a testament of our government's inability to provide holistic education for not only someone of Adi's standards, but also to other students as well.

Of course, bearing in mind that Adi's present school is obviously at a lost of how to manage a child who is far advanced compared to his peers, the school had no choice but to continue teaching the standard curriculum for Primary One students. The teachers, unfortunately, cannot give Adi special treatment as that ill not sit well with his other classmates and by giving him preferential treatment, it will also make him an outcast among his peers who would become jealous of the special treatment.

The simple solution to this is simply for Adi to not go to school, after all, what's there for him to learn in public school when he can already read a newspaper at the age of three and solve Add Maths problems by age 6.

I totally understand why Adi feels bored and decided to cut classes. The Primary One curriculum is basically something like kindergarten all over again, where students are drilled on writing, reading and calculation, all of which Adi has already mastered. There is nothing new to offer Adi in the curriculum or lessons, so why stay in school. The parents of Adi did the right thing by complying with his wishes to not go to school and I salute the boy for wanting to go to a school that gives him a more holistic education and a better learning environment.

Still, what the school did, which is to threaten to expel him, could have been done with a bit more tact. It is obvious that the school's action in issuing show cause letters to the boy and his parents, warning him that if he does not show up in school, he will be expelled, was done with little tolerance and understanding of Adi's predicament. I normally equate expellation with students with serious discipline problems and Adi is certainly not a boy with discipline problems. But the label would stick and he will have to live with the memory that he has been threatened with expulsion.

Did the school ever gave a thought to how Adi might feel and how his peers in school will think of him? Obviously not. All the school cares for is its policy to ensure that students attend classes. Anyone who does not is a problematic child. Thus, will be expelled. The school never thinks about the child's feelings. To them, that's secondary when it comes to doing their duty to uphold school rules and poilicies.

What the government should do, and if they are really serious and concerned for Adi's welfare and education, is to let the boy enrol in the Islamic International School here in KL, or any other private school that is better suited and prepared to manage a genius child like Adi. The most important thing here is not only to nurture his abilities so that he will not be one day burnt out like many other geniuses around the world, but also to build him up in other skills, not just Maths. He has expressed interest to learn other languages, and should be encouraged to do so.

Nurtured and taught the right way, we can expect great things from this boy in the future. But until then, it is also important that the glare of the media and attention be diverted away from him. He's still first and foremost a child and should not be exposed to such pressures. He should be allowed to enjoy the things every normal child enjoys. Every child have their right to have a normal childhood, to experience everything a normal child should experience, regardless of whether he's a genius or not.

True, expectations on him will be high in the future. but with proper care in his upbringing, I do not see how Adi will not become one of Malaysia's outstanding personality in the future.

For now, let's give the kid a break he so needs and deserves.


  1. Samster

    Home schooling might be an option as long as he still has friends around the neighbourhood. Also, I sincerely PRAY that he will not be overburdened by expectations and let him space to grow up like any other kid.

  2. Indeed! A child is a child and I myself am still not comfortable with labels such as “special” and “normal”. How does one define special and normal? What makes one different from the other? It’s something which we all must try to overcome.

  3. The problem with advanced placement for bored gifted children is that it does not fulfill the emotional part of the schooling experience, only the academic. I was a gifted child too, and my mother’s solution to this was to make me skip grades. Why bother with kindergarten? Send him to first grade. So there I was, a 5-year old in first grade, all the kids were bigger than me. That kept going until I was in high school when my mother said, surprise, let’s jump him another grade.

    The end result: a 16-year old child as a college freshman. I was not prepared for that jump.

    What you do with a bored gifted child is challenge him. Have him spend at least half his scheduled school time with his peers, then the second half try to find something to make the kid actually use his head. If you can find him a school that allows this, then even better. But at the worst, at least have him do more things, like music classes, or something else. This will cut down on the boredom.

    The home schooling works as long as everyone is 100% committed to see it through. I would still have the child spend a minimum of time with his peers even if homeschooling.

    Pedro Vera

  4. Dear Pedro,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I emphatise with what you went through as a child. It seems to me that a lot of parents get excited when their kids are proven to be gifted children. Gifted in certain areas maybe but the parents don’t understand that just because your child may be advanced, it doesn’t mean they have to skip a grade.

    Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that there aren’t many provisions to accommodate the teaching and learning of gifted children. When the public school system in my country becomes dull and boring to the kid, nothing challenges him. The public school system and its teachers are never prepared to handle a gifted child.

    Everyone needs to give the kid space and time and opportunity for him to grow. It’s important that he is not rushed into becoming an adult like what happened to you. I simply don’t encourage 16 year olds in college, they’re just not prepared for it. A gifted child is still a child, so they must be entitled to their childhood and encouraged to mix with their peers.

    Learning can’t be rushed, even for a gifted child. It’s vital that we all understand this. A child just can’t take so much pressure. I hope that gifted children everywhere are given the chance to have a normal life… the TV show “Malcolm in the Middle” should serve to inspire some people.

  5. bai

    askum,kpd adk adiputra akak berasa bgga dgn keistimewaan adk…itu adalh kelebihan yang adik ade.akak mmg rase terkejut dgn kebolehan adk dlam matematik akak teringin ingin berjuumpa dgn adk..akak mmg btul2 ingin mengenali adk..

  6. bai

    akak harap adik bals email akak nie..akak berharap dapat berbual dengan adik nie..akak sentiasa doakan adk dalam keadaan baik..dan akak berasa kagum dengan kelebihan adik..ini betapa besar nye kuasa tuhan yang dapat di lihat..k akak harap dapat berbual dengan adik dan harap adik balas surat nie k..assalamualikum..adik putra pahang..

  7. Pak MUS

    We should all be very proud of having a kid like ADI PUTRA in this country , really.

    Government has been spending so much money every year to support schools just to produce students with better education. Why can’t the same goverment spend some money to appreciate what God has given. The school to expell him just for not attending the class, I personally feel, who ever made the decision should be sent back to school to learn how to think.


  8. Well written, I’m proud of his achievement. With proper guidance, he sure can give a huge impact to Malaysia one day. Just checked his website I hope nobody will use this kid for their personal agenda.

  9. larryea

    well, congratulations to adi with his achievement!!
    sure he will feel boring with school if he really are genius. but school not only for learning math, science and all the other subject but its a place where you built up your personality, learning about life and to adapt with your environment. “Great teacher onizuka’s” drama can give us idea what school really for…

  10. shame

    well, from my opinion quitting school is totally irrational because school not only teach kids in academics aspect but in other aspect as well, likes socializing, how to live in community and respect others. beside adi only good at math how about other subjects, English, science, bahasa melayu and agama islam this also important subject to learn.

  11. kakak Amal

    Assalamualaikum adi,kakak ni berasal dari Brunei, akak suka kepandaian adi dalam maths,kakak harap suatu hari nanti akak dapat berjumpa adi… kerana kakak suka maths dan semoga kakak dapat belajar dgn adi.

  12. Assamu’alaikum Adik Adi,
    Abang yakin ini adalah anugerah dari Allah spt.mana Nabi Muhamad pernah dibedah oleh malaikat untuk mencuci hatinya atau Nabi Isa yg. boleh bertutur ketika bayi.Adi jangan putus asa, teruskan perancangan Adi bersama keluarga dan berdoa padaNya utk. tunjukkan jalan.Semuga Adi menjadi khalifah Allah yg. hebat membimbing umat Islam spt. mana kemuncak kegemilangan Islam 1700 tahun yang lalu.Jangan siakan anugerah ini.dgn. izin Adi, abang ingin mengetahui lebih dalam lagi tentang Adi dan bagaimana ini semua terjadi.Semuga anak-anak abang dpt. berkongsi.Wassalam

  13. Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon. Thanks! There’s a lot of smartphone Internet traffic that is generated by people who are just trying to check when they get to go, over and over again.

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