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Last Updated: Wednesday September 14 2005 11:54 GMT

Oldest pupil wants school for all

85-year-old Kimani Nganga, the world's oldest school pupil, aboard the "buddy" bus in New York City. (Photo:Jerome Ming/Actionaid)
An 85-year-old student is asking world leaders to help 100 million of the poorest children go to school.

The world's oldest pupil, Kimani Nganga Maruge, travelled from Kenya to the US, the day before a top meeting.

Representatives of 191 countries are gathering in New York for the United Nations world summit.

Mr Maruge toured the city on a yellow school bus before delivering thousands of paper figures to the world leaders.

In total, three and a half million figures or "buddies," representing children out of school, have been made as part of the Send My Friend to School Challenge.

Equal boys and girls
Kimani Nganga Maruge, the world's oldest school pupil
Mr Maruge in the classroom

Five-years ago, world leaders set a goal that by 2005, the number of girls and boys going to school would be equal.

But more than 70 countries have not reached this target, or Millennium Development Goal, and 60 per cent of children who don't go to school are girls.

Another goal is to give every child the chance to go to school by 2015.

Millennium Development Goals
Cut poverty and world hunger
Primary school classes for all children
Equal rights for women
Cut child deaths
Better healthcare for pregnant women
Combat HIV and Aids
Improve people's living conditions
Help countries to work together

Mr Maruge, who is a great-grandfather, wants the United Nations to draw up a plan to help member countries achieve this.

Progress

There has been progress in some countries. For example, school is now free in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.

This means seven million children, who previously couldn't afford the fees, can now go to school.




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