96-yr-old Karthiyani Amma, who scored 98 marks in exam, felicitated by Kerala CM

DECCAN CHRONICLE | Edited by : CHARUL SINGH
Published Nov 1, 2018, 7:33 pm IST
Updated Nov 1, 2018, 7:33 pm IST
Karthiyani Amma was the oldest student who appeared for exam under 'Aksharalaksham' literacy program of Kerala State Literacy Mission.
Karthiyani Amma, 96-year-old Kerala woman, who cleared test under state ‘Aksharalaksham’ literacy program scoring 98 out of 100 marks, was felicitated by CM Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday. (Photo: Twitter | ANI)
 Karthiyani Amma, 96-year-old Kerala woman, who cleared test under state ‘Aksharalaksham’ literacy program scoring 98 out of 100 marks, was felicitated by CM Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday. (Photo: Twitter | ANI)

Mumbai: Karthiyani Amma, 96-year-old Kerala woman, who cleared a test under the state ‘Aksharalaksham’ literacy program scoring 98 out of 100 marks, was felicitated by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday.

Karthiyani Amma was the oldest student who appeared for the exam under the literacy program of Kerala State Literacy Mission. In the exam, reading, writing and mathematical skills were tested.

 

Amma, a mother of six children of whom only two are alive, six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, now wants to fulfil her dream of learning how to use a computer.

"I want to continue with my studies...want to study at least up to 10th standard and clear the exam with good marks. I also want to learn computer," she told news agency PTI.

Having cleared the Aksharalaksham exam, she has got direct entry into the 4th grade of the equivalency course of the Literacy Mission. Once she has cleared the 6-month 4th-grade course, she can join the 7th-grade equivalency programme and subsequently the 10th standard course, officials at the Mission said.

Sharing her story, she told news agency ANI that she never got an opportunity to study when she was young due to financial constraints. “I never got an opportunity when young otherwise I would have become a government official,” she said.

Amma, hailing from the coastal Cheppad village of Alapuzza district in Kerala, did odd jobs like cleaning a temple to look after her family following her husband's death.

Praising Karthiyani’s enthusiasm, Sathi, the Mission's 'prerak' (instructor), said she was very particular about attending classes and asked many questions to clear her doubts. "She regularly attended the classes....was very cool and calm even when she was going to write the first-ever exam of her life," Sathi told PTI.

She hopes given Amma's perseverance she would realise her dream of passing class 10 by the time she turns 100.

Sharing her experience of writing the examination, Karthiyani Amma said, “I did not copy from anyone rather I let others copy from me. I told them what to write”.

Amma, hailing from the coastal Cheppad village of Alapuzza district in Kerala, did odd jobs like cleaning a temple to look after her family following her husband's death.

Sajitha, Amma's granddaughter, said the family was excited and proud of her achievement. "I am a school teacher. As a family member and as a teacher, it is a proud moment for me. I am excited that I can inspire my students by sharing her story with them," she said. P S Sreekala, the Literacy Mission Director, said Amma has become a role model for thousands of people who wish to be part of literacy programmes.

42,993 people out of the 43,330 candidates who appeared for the test cleared it this year.

The 'Aksharalaksham' literacy program was launched with an aim to eliminate illiteracy in the state that boasts of over 90 per cent literacy, the highest in the country.

Kerala was declared a fully literate state on April 18, 1991, which means attaining 90 per cent literacy, as per UNESCO norms.

However, the 2011 Census revealed that around 18 lakh people remained illiterate, which prompted the state government to launch the "Aksharalaksham" programme on January 26 this year.

The programme was launched by the state-run Kerala State Literacy Mission to help eradicate illiteracy among marginalised groups like tribals, fisher folks and slum-dwellers.

(With inputs from PTI and ANI)

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