World’s oldest primary school pupil dies aged 99

The oldest primary school student in the world, Priscilla Sitieni, passed away in Kenya at the age of 99.

Priscilla, who served as the subject of a French film and gained recognition from UNESCO, passed away at home on Nov. 16 from a chest condition, according to her grandson Sammy Chepsiror, who spoke to The Standard daily.

Up until three days before she passed away, Gogo was in excellent health and attended her classes, he said in a statement to the newspaper on Thursday, Nov. 17.

“We are grateful that she lived those years. She made us all proud, he continued.

She was 94 when she persuaded the headmaster of the local school in her village in Kenya’s Rift Valley to admit her, according to UNESCO, which hailed her as “a role model for her community and beyond”.

In an interview with the UN agency last year, she said her aim was to motivate young mothers in Kenya to return to school after having children, instead of dropping out due to shame or fear of social stigma.

“I wanted to show an example not only to them but to other girls around the world who are not in school,” she said.

“Without education, there will be no difference between you and a chicken,” she said.

“Education is your future. Education remains in your head forever and you cannot lose it once you have it.”

Her efforts were documented in a French film titled “Gogo”, which led her to take a plane for the first time last year to visit France and meet first lady Brigitte Macron.

The film’s co-writer Patrick Pessis paid tribute to her on Thursday, tweeting: “Her message about girls’ education lives on.”

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