Paloma Noyola lives in one of the most dangerous and forgotten neighborhoods in the city of Matamorros, in Northern Mexico.
Each day she walks on dirt roads on her way to school, always accompanied by her mother. Her primary school doesn’t have drinking water or air conditioning in the classrooms, and Noyola has to wash her single school uniform each day, since it’s the only one she can afford.
Despite her limitations, she has accomplished something that no one thought was possible. She’s scored the absolute highest in the math portion of the Mexican national standardized exam, beating 12 million other students.
It’s a feat even she can’t fathom.
“I couldn’t even believe it,” she said. “My teacher and my schoolmates even applauded.”
At 12 years old, she has been dubbed the “the Next Steve Jobs” by Wired magazine.
Noyola’s schoolteacher Sergio Juarez discovered her intellectual talent in the classroom when he would challenge her with difficult math problems. She would always excel.
Juarez later implemented the curiosity-based teachings of Indian scientist Sugata Mitra in his classroom. It sparked Noyola’s interest in mathematics and science even further.
So, is education truly the answer for impoverished children like Paloma? Or is the story of one prodigy, a far cry from the realities facing kids around the world? Tweet us your thoughts using the hashtag #DNAtv.