World’s oldest primary school pupil dies aged 99

Joe Harker

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World’s oldest primary school pupil dies aged 99

Featured Image Credit: africanews/YouTube

The world's oldest primary school student has died aged 99 in Kenya, just before her final exams were due to begin.

Priscilla Sitienei was believed to have been the oldest primary school pupil in the world and her grandson has confirmed that she died peacefully at her home.

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Growing up during the British occupation of Kenya, Priscilla never got the chance to go to school as a child but strongly believed that everyone should have the chance to get their education.

According to the BBC, she spent 65 years serving her community as a midwife, even delivering some of the babies who would go on to become her classmates, before taking the chance she never had as a child and went to primary school so she could learn to read and write.

Enrolling in Leaders Vision Preparatory School, she ended up learning alongside six of her great-great grandchildren and hoped she could set an example to others.

Priscilla Sitienei first went to school in 2010 after working as a midwife for 65 years. Credit: YouTube/africanews
Priscilla Sitienei first went to school in 2010 after working as a midwife for 65 years. Credit: YouTube/africanews

She used to tell children who weren't in school because they were too old for it that if she could be there, so should they.

Priscilla told Unesco last year that she hoped her decision could motivate young mothers to go back to school and get their education.

She said: "I wanted to show an example not only to them but to other girls around the world who are not in school, without education, there will be no difference between you and a chicken."

Affectionately known as 'Gogo', while meant 'grandmother' in the local language, Priscilla took part in all of the same classes that her fellow pupils did, while also balancing her studies with helping out delivering babies.

Her favourite subjects at school were science, religious education and maths.

Initially rejected from the school after Kenya made primary education free in 2003, Priscilla was able to show how dedicated she was to getting her education and was allowed to join as a student in 2010.

Affectionately known as 'Gogo' by her classmates, Priscilla inspired others to go and get their education. Credit: YouTube/africanews
Affectionately known as 'Gogo' by her classmates, Priscilla inspired others to go and get their education. Credit: YouTube/africanews

In class she wore the same school uniform as everyone else and used to tell noisy kids to quiet down during the lesson.

In 2015 headteacher David Kinyanjui said she was a 'blessing to this school' and was 'loved by every pupil'.

The Guinness World Records will need updating as they currently have fellow Kenyan Kimani Maruge down as the world's oldest primary school pupil.

He was 84 when he first enrolled as a primary school pupil in 2004, he died in 2009 the year before Priscilla began her own education.

Topics: News, World News, Education

Joe Harker
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