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Brazil's lawyers have been shocked to find that a boy aged eight has managed to pass the entrance exam to law school.
The Bar Association said the achievement of Joao Victor Portellinha should be taken as a warning about the low standards of some of Brazil's law schools.
"If this is confirmed, the Education Ministry should immediately intervene ... to investigate the circumstances of this case," said the association's president in Goias state, Miguel Angelo Cancado.
Joao Victor is still in fifth grade, two levels ahead of normal for his age, but his mother says he is not a cloistered genius. "He is a regular boy," she told the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper. "He is very dedicated, likes to read and study, but he has fun and makes friends."
The Universidade Paulista, a multi-campus private university, said yesterday that the boy would not be enrolling any time soon: he still has to graduate from high school.
Still, the school said the "student's performance, considering his age and level of education, was good, especially in the essay test, which revealed his good capacity to express himself and handle the language."
"My dream is to be a federal judge," the boy said, according to Globo TV's Web site. "So I decided to take the test to see how I would do ... it was easy. I studied a week before the test."
Brazil requires every student to take an entrance exam before being admitted to college. Each university administers its own test, and the exams from private institutions are usually considered to be easier than those of public universities, which are free and attract many more candidates.
University officials said they could not release figures on the number of people who pass and fail the law school entrance exam.
As a former colony, Brazilian civil law is largely based on that of Portugal with statutes derived from the Romano-Germanic legal tradition, but has been amended to include some precedent-based common law.