Sunday, November 20, 2022
Priscilla Sitienei, who is believed to be the world's oldest primary school student, has passed away at her home in Kenya at the age of 99.
The BBC reported that the old woman's health issues flared up after the class on Wednesday. The woman was preparing for her final exams which were to start a week later.
Affectionately referred to as "Gogo" which means grandmother in the local Kalenjin language, Sitienei told the outlet in 2015 that she was doing what she had not done in her childhood: acquiring education and learning how to read and write.
Sitienei, who was raised in Kenya and witnessed the freedom fight for her country's independence from the British Empire, worked as a midwife for over 60 years in the Rift Valley of Ndalat village before she resumed education. In 2010, she joined the Leaders Vision Preparatory School where she found children whose delivery she had assisted during her professional life.
Kenyan lawyer and politician, currently serving as the second Governor of Nandi County, Stephen Sang said that "late Gogo's passion for education had inspired different generations was the oldest pupil in the world."
"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," the BBC quoted her as saying.
The outlet reported that Gogo would encourage education and questioned children who skipped school or were not admitted.
"They tell me they are too old," she told the BBC. "I tell them: 'Well I am at school and so should you."
UNESCO had praised the woman for her efforts towards education. She told the agency that she wished to motivate young mothers to go back to school and learn to read and write.
Inspired by her life, writer Patrick Pessis co-authored the French movie "Gogo" which paid a tribute to the life of the old woman.
"Priscilla Sitienei known as Gogo left us at 100 years old. I had written with Pascal Plisson GOGO, a film that she enchanted with her grace," he said on Twitter.
"In Kenya, shocked that her granddaughters do not go to school, she enrols. For example. Her message on girls' education lives on."