Mexican octogenarian finishes primary school

Ernestina Díaz holds her primary school certificate. Mexico, September 2019 Image copyright Education Ministry/Twitter
Image caption Ernestina Díaz studied through the local adult education programme

Ernestina Díaz is proud to have just completed her primary school education in Mexico's Chihuahua State - especially as she is 81 years old.

She received her certificate from the local Adult Education Institute, which published her photograph in a congratulatory post on its Twitter account.

"Stories like that of Ernestina Díaz are what impel us to continue to broaden our services and strengthen our programmes, so that we can reach all Mexicans who have missed out on an education. Congratulations for this well-deserved achievement!" it said.

What is even more remarkable is that Mrs Díaz is a member of the Tarahumara or Rarámuri people, subsistence farmers who live high in the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains of northern Mexico.

Image copyright Education Ministry/Twitter
Image caption The education ministry sent its congratulations on Twitter

Like many of the country's more remote indigenous communities, the Tarahumara have relatively low literacy levels in both Spanish and their native language, which is related to that of the Aztec Empire prior to the Spanish conquest.

Chihuahua State is determined to improve opportunities for these communities, and the Adult Education Institute runs an Indigenous-Bilingual Educational Model for Life and Work that provides reading and writing materials in 64 indigenous languages, according to El Universal newspaper.

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Mrs Díaz is not the only indigenous Mexican completing her education at an advanced age.

Last year, 85-year-old Sabino Xochipoltecatl Carvente became an online celebrity when his granddaughter tweeted a photo of him posing with his freshly-printed secondary-school graduation certificate, the Noticieros Televisa news channel reported at the time.

The federal education ministry also paid homage to Ernestina Díaz on Twitter, and shared the news that she is not resting on her laurels either.

"Her aim is to go on to secondary education, and share her knowledge with the children of her community," it said.

Image copyright Lance Fisher/Wikimedia Commons
Image caption The Tarahumara still lead a largely traditional way of life

Reporting by Martin Morgan

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