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Jun 6, 2008

World's oldest pupil moved to pensioners home

AFP - 1 hour 40 minutes ago

ELDORET, Kenya (AFP) - An 88-year-old Kenyan man who was the world's oldest school pupil was forced to abandon his studies when he was moved to a home for the aged, teachers and aid workers said Friday.

Kimani Nganga Maruge became a celebrity when he joined a school in the western Kenyan town of Eldoret at the age of 84, earning him a Guinness book of records entry as the oldest man ever to start primary school.

A former Mau-Mau who fought British settlers in the 1950s, the elderly Kenyan had already seen his schooling disrupted earlier this year when he was displaced with hundreds of thousands of others by post-electoral violence.

The school's headteacher told AFP that Nganga, now in grade five, never missed school before and his failure to show up for class at 7:30 am (0430 GMT) on Thursday prompted the staff to look for their illustrious pupil.

"We immediately had to establish what had gone wrong to ascertain our fears before his fellow pupils told us they had seen him aboard a Red Cross vehicle," Jane Obinchu said.

Teaching staff expressed their disappointment at Nganga's departure and charged that the decision was hastily taken.

"He is an international figure who was very keen with his studies. I doubt if he can accept his studies to be interrupted," Obinchu said.

"The ministry of education should come to our rescue. As far as we are concerned, this is like abduction because Maruge was a pupil here and his teachers are in the dark over the circumstances," said Albert Kebenei, who chairs the local Parents and Teachers Association.

He explained that Nganga had contributed towards dramatically increasing enrolment at Kapkenduiywo primary school by inspiring families to give their children an education.

A local Red Cross employee explained that Nganga had been identified as vulnerable following the turmoil that shook the region following the December 27 polls and needed care.

"I informed nearly everybody in the school about our move," Robert Lenguiya told AFP.

Nganga, who still enjoyed smoking cigarettes despite the reprobation of the school staff and his 11-year-old classmates, had said he wanted to pursue his studies all the way to his veterinary diploma.

Visibility: Everyone
Posted: Friday June 6, 2008, 11:08 am
Tags: oldest worlds pupil [add/edit tags]

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