Dhe “world’s oldest elementary school student,” Pricilla Sitienei, died on Friday, according to her grandson Sammy Chepsiror Kenya died at the age of 99. The exact cause of death was not initially known. Seven years ago, international media reported on the Kenyan who, at the age of more than 90, attended school for the first time with her great-great-grandchildren. Sitienei had previously worked as a midwife in her Rift Valley village of Ndalat for several decades. When she was young, her family could not afford schooling.
Sitienei’s story was captured in the 2020 film Gogo by French director Pascal Plisson. At the premiere in 2021, she met France’s First Lady Brigitte Macron. She was also honored by the UN education organization Unesco. Gogo means “grandmother” in the Kalendjin language spoken in north-west Kenya.
There is a serious concern behind Sitienei’s unusual school career: according to her own statements, the Kenyan wanted to point out that not all children in Kenya have the opportunity to go to school. In addition, Sitienei wanted to encourage older students in particular to attend school regularly. She had brought some of her classmates from the “Leaders Vision Preparatory School” into the world herself.
Only since a school reform 19 years ago has there been the possibility of free school attendance in Kenya. In rural areas in particular, however, there is a lack of funds for adequate education. In sub-Saharan Africa visit according to the U.N. 60 percent of children between the ages of 15 and 17 are not in school.