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Page last updated at 19:43 GMT, Friday, 6 June 2008 20:43 UK

Kenyan OAP pupil taken into care

Kimani Nganga Maruge and classmates
Kimani Nganga Maruge started school in 2004, aged 84

Kenya's oldest pupil, 88-year-old Kimani Nganga Maruge, has been forced to abandon his studies and move into a home for the aged, his school has said.

Teachers said Mr Maruge had been identified as vulnerable by the Red Cross following the unrest which shook the country after December's election.

Mr Maruge's schooling was disrupted in January, when his home was burnt down.

The great grandfather has held since 2004 the world record for being the oldest person to start primary school.

Mr Maruge enrolled at Kapkenduywa Primary in Eldoret a year after the Kenyan government introduced free primary schooling.

'International figure'

The school's head teacher, Jane Obinchu, said he had never missed school before and so when he failed to show up on Thursday, they began to look for him.

I doubt if he can accept his studies to be interrupted
Jane Obinchu
Head teacher, Kapkenduywa Primary

"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," she told the AFP news agency.

The Red Cross later confirmed Mr Maruge had been taken into care.

Ms Obinchu expressed her disappointment at the decision and said it may have been 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," she added.

The chairman of the local parents' and teachers' association, Albert Kebenei, called on the ministry of education to "come to our rescue" and explained that Mr Maruge had dramatically increased enrolment at the school by inspiring families.

Mr Maruge, two of whose grandchildren also attend the school, had said he wanted to eventually complete a veterinary diploma.


SEE ALSO
OAP pupil flees Kenyan violence
24 Jan 08 |  Africa
Kenya's oldest schoolboy
14 Jan 04 |  Africa

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