60 year-old Ahmadey Saney has become a social media sensation after pictures emerged of the student sitting for the final Somalia secondary school exams.
The country’s education system has been affected by years of civil war. To address some of the challenges in the education sector, and to improve equitable access to quality formal basic education, the government has been implementing the Go-to-School Initiative 2013-2016. Unicef and other agencies have also been supporting initiatives to improve access to education and literacy.
This year, Faduma Dhaqane a 41 year old grandmother in southern Somalia (married at 15) enrolled as a grade one pupil. Dhaqane is in the same class as her grandson Ahmed.
Dhaqane’s life has been affected by numerous hardships and tragedies, (losing family members during the famine) but despite such misfortunes, she has decided to go back to school.
We look at other cases of older school pupils and students who have proved that when it comes to education there are no limits and age is just a number.
Kimani Ng’ang’a Maruge, enrolled aged 84 (estimated age), Kenya.
One of the most remarkable stories of adult education, which is worthy of the world record. Kimani Maruge holds the Guinness World Record as the oldest person to start primary school. Maruge enrolled as a first grader (Standard One at Kapkenduiyo Primary School) in January, 2004, aged 84. A beneficiary of the government’s universal and free elementary education, Maruge was in school with two of his grandchildren.
In 204, Maruge reportedly passed his first end-of-term exams with straight A’s in English, Kiswahili and math, making him among the top five students in the class. A Mau Mau veteran, he was appointed headboy in that year.
Maruge sadly passed away on 15 August 2009, aged 90.
Janet Kasoka, 65, Zambia.
As a child, Janet Kasoka did not get an opportunity to attend school. This year, the 65 year-old enrolled as a grade one pupil at Milulu Primary school in Milenge district. Milulu Primary School is among government schools, which offer adult literacy classes.
Priscilla Sitienei, 90, Kenya
In another inspirational story, five years ago, Sitienei went back to school. The 90 year-old is highly regarded as a great motivator and is believed to be the oldest primary school pupil in the world.
Muhammad Modibbo, (enrolled in his 70s), Nigeria.
Until his untimely death (passed on aged 81) Modibbo was believed to be the oldest student formally enrolled in school in Nigeria.
Akasease Kofi Boakye Yiadom, 105, Ghana.
In an extraordinary feat, Akasease Kofi Boakye Yiadom, enrolled at university aged 96, and graduated in 2009 at the age of 99.