Age is no bar when it comes to the pursuit of education, and this 96-year-old from Kerala just proved it. Karthyayani Amma, who made headlines last year for being the oldest person to be enrolled under Kerala’s Literacy Mission’s Akshara Laksham (Million Letters) literacy exam and then scoring a whopping 98%, has been selected as the Commonwealth of Learning Goodwill Ambassador.
The Commonwealth of Learning Goodwill Ambassador includes 53 countries. Amma’s story of perseverance and dedication to learning, even at an age of 96, would be published in various publications across countries, reported Matrubhumi. The Commonwealth of Learning promotes distance education in member countries. Commonwealth of Learning vice president Balasubramanian met with Amma to present her the award and also to know from her the way she learns.
She received merit certificate from CM
She received a merit certificate from Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for scoring 2% more marks than her own age. Karthyayani Amma showed the world that if you have a strong desire to learn, you most certainly can score 98 out of 100 marks in ‘Aksharalaksham’ literacy programme.
The exam was conducted by the State Literacy Mission Authority and it tested candidates’ reading, writing, and mathematical skills. Karthyayani scored 38 marks out of 40 in writing and full marks in both reading and mathematics. About 42,933 candidates out of the total 43,330 cleared the exam conducted in five levels Class IV, VII, X, XI, and XII. According to The Hindu, Amma was the oldest student to take the exam which was conducted in August and the results were declared on October 31. According to a report byTimes Now, the ‘Aksharalaksham’ project was launched on Republic Day, 2018 to achieve hundred percent literacy in the state and 47,241 candidates have been trained under the project.
Amma’s motivation to learn
Amma lives in Muttom village near Cheppad in Alappuzha district. She worked as domestic help and a cleaning staff in temples and nearby households and had never been to school. In January 2018, a literacy crew of Cheppad grama panchayat along with its secretary went to Laksham Veedu Colony, a government housing for the elderly. While most women housed at Laksham Veedu Colony shied away to avoid the literacy drive, Karthyayani Amma was the one who came forward in a bid to enrol herself.
Reportedly, her zeal to pursue education started a couple of years before this when she saw her 60-year-old daughter, Ammini Amma pass the literacy mission’s course, which is equivalent to the class 10 level in formal educational courses.
PS Sreelatha, Director of Kerala Literacy Mission Authority said “She is the topper among the neo-literates qualifying exam. We are all proud of her great achievement. She had voluntarily joined for the class”, reported Times Now. Karthyayani told The Hindu that the high marks delighted her and she would like to continue her studies and is now aiming to clear the tenth standard equivalent examination.
She is now qualified to enter Class IV equivalency course. Her teacher Sati K. said “She is very enthusiastic about education and it was reflected in her marks. She is eager to continue education”. In a tweet she also said that she let others copy from her.
I did not copy from anyone, rather I let others copy from me. I told them what to write : 96 year old Karthiyani Amma of Alappuzha who scored 98/100 marks in 'Aksharalaksham' literacy program of Kerala State Literacy Mission pic.twitter.com/NeUmcpsIsY
— ANI (@ANI) November 1, 2018
Karthyayani Amma received social media attention when Anand Mahindra shared her picture taking the examination. KJ Alphons, Union Minister of State for Tourism also praised her.
The Logical Indian take
Karthyayani Amma’s story only reinforces the fact that nothing can pose an obstacle if one is determined to attain a goal. Her enthusiasm even inspired many elderly residents of her colony to follow in her footsteps. Also, the role of Kerala government and the grassroots literacy crews should be appreciated. Their programme is giving wings to the dreams of many people who for various circumstances could not pursue education.
The Logical Indian congratulates the Amma for her determination and we hope she studies as much she wants to.