Kenya’s Oldest-ever Pupil Dies at 100
Kenya’s and the world’s oldest primary school student, Priscilla Otieno has died at the ripe age of 100.
She was determined to obtain an education deep into her 90s and her ambition inspired a French film and got recognized by the United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
According to Priscilla’s grandson Sammy Chepsiror, Gogo Priscilla, as she was commonly called, passed away while at her home on Wednesday after having a problem in her chest area.
“Gogo had been in good health and was attending her classes until three days before her demise when she developed chest pains, which forced her out of school.
“We are thankful for the 100 years of her life. She made all of us proud,” Sammy in a briefing to members of the media.
According to UNESCO, Priscilla was 94 years when she approached and convinced the headteacher of the local school in her village in the Rift Valley region to admit her.
UNESCO recognized Priscilla as ‘a role model for her community and beyond’.
In an interview with the UN body last year, she revealed that her ambition was to encourage Kenyan mothers to return to school even after having children instead of dropping out of 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. Without education, there is no difference between you and a chicken. Education is your future. It remains in your head forever and you cannot lose it once you have it,” said Priscilla.
Her efforts were featured in the French film titled “Gogo” which led to her flying for the first time to France where she met first lady Brigitte Macron last year.
Following her passing, the co-writer of the film, Patrick Pessis tweeted, “Her message about girls’ education lives on.