A 90-year-old Kenyan grandmother is believed to be the world’s oldest primary school pupil.
Priscilla Sitienei, an elderly woman who lives and works in the Ndalat village as a midwife, attends the local Leaders Vision Preparatory School with her great-great-grandchildren, most of them aged 10 to 14. Sitienei’s classmates are so much younger than her that many of them were born and delivered thanks to Sitienei’s services as a midwife.
Most classmates call Sitienei “Gogo,” an affectionate term for grandmother in the local Kalenjin language. In correspondence with BBC News, Sitienei has expressed her excitement over finally being able to learn how to read and write.
“I’d like to be able to read the Bible; I also want to inspire children to get an education,” said Sitienei. “Too many older children are not in school. They even have children themselves.”
Sitienei hopes that she gets to inspire the uneducated adult citizens of her village, many of whom have long abandoned education due to poverty and health concerns.
She said, “They tell me they are too old. I tell them, ‘Well I am at school and so should you.'”
Priscilla didn’t get easily admitted into the local school. At first, school administrators rejected her application to enroll, partly due to her age. Inspired by Gogo’s desire to increase her knowledge, school officials have finally allowed her to enroll in their primary classes.
School headmaster David Kinyanjui says Sitienei’s attendance in the class serves as a daily inspiration to all pupils of Leaders Vision Preparatory School.
He said, “Gogo has been a blessing to this school, she has been a motivator to all the pupils. She is loved by every pupil, they all want to learn and play with her.”
“She is doing well… considering her age I can say I have seen a big difference in this school since she came,” added Kinyanjui.
According to Guinness Book of Records,the person who previously held the title for being the world’s oldest school pupil was a fellow Kenyan, 84-year-old Kimani Miruge, who died in 2009. Records for Sitienei remain unofficial, but many media outlets have already branded her as the current title holder for being the world’s oldest pupil.
Priscilla might find herself comfortable in the company of Mrs. Madeline Scoto, one of the oldest, active educators in the United States at age 100. Scoto, who teaches at the St. Ephrem’s Elementary School in Brooklyn, has held her position since the 1930s and has taught fractions, integers, and decimals to more than five generations throughout her career.
[Image from BBC]