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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 September 2005, 09:04 GMT 10:04 UK
Kenya's OAP pupil lobbies the UN
Kimani Nganga Maruge a
Second year pupil Kimani is benefiting from free primary education
Kenya's oldest school pupil, Kimani Nganga Maruge, is in New York to address the United Nations on the importance of free primary education.

The 85-year-old is urging help for some 115 million children denied education because of poverty. "To me, Liberty is going to school and learning," he said.

The great-grandfather holds the Guinness World Record for being the oldest person to start school.

He began in 2004 after the government introduced free primary schooling.

"You are never too old to learn," he said.

Flying first

The UN estimates some $9bn is needed to reach its universal primary education goal by 2015.

He came to the United States with his head teacher, Jane Obinchu, flying on a plane for the first time in his life.

As part of the visit, he travelled around Manhattan in a yellow school bus to spread his message about education for needy children. He also met the wife of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

He is also delivering 100,000 paper cut-out figures representing children unable to attend school because of poverty on behalf of the campaigning group, the Global Campaign for Education.

He told the BBC's Network Africa programme he had been having a good time visiting, and was learning a lot which he would take back to his classmates.

"I'd like to find out if there is a away that this problem of poverty can be eradicated," he said

Two of his 30 grandchildren attend the same school but they are in more senior grades.

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