Thiruvananthapuram, October 31, 2018: 96-year-old woman from Kerala has topped the qualifying Class IV exam conducted by the Kerala Literacy Mission Authority with a 98 per cent score. She will receive a merit certificate from Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan tomorrow (November 1) at the Chief Minister’s Conference hall.
Karthiyaniamma Krishnapilla of the Muttom village in Alappuzha had never gone to school. She used to work as a cleaning staff in a few temples nearby.
Among the 43,330 students that appeared for the equivalent examination conducted in the state in five levels – Class IV, VII, X, XI and XII, 42,933 passed the tests and Karthiyamma topped in Class IV test with 98 marks out of 100, PS Sreelatha, director of the 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,” Sreelatha told India Today.
The Kerala State Literacy Mission Authority flagged off the ‘Aksharalaksham’ project on Republic Day (January 26, 2018) in order to achieve 100 per cent literacy in the state. In the first phase, literacy classes for 47,241 illiterates began as part of the project inwards, where the mission’s 2,086 continuing learning centres were located.
Many celebrities including Anand Mahindra, chairman of Mahindra Group and Union Tourism Minister Alphons Kannanthanam have shared her picture on the social media.
“I’m happy that I got good marks. Now I know how to read, write and calculate,” Karthiyaniamma told India Today. Her great grandchildren — 12-year-old Aparna and 9-year-old Anjana — helped her learn lessons better.
“In our days, women never went to school. When my younger daughter Amminiamma qualified in the tenth equivalent examination in 2016, I took it as a challenge,” she said.
51-year-old Amminiamma, a school drop out, had passed the examination after attending continuing education classes.
Her instructor, K Sathi, is also all praise for her.
“In my 27-year-old literacy mission work, I’ve never seen such an enthusiasm from a student. She has a good memory and is eager to learn more,” 54-year-old Sathi, who is also ASHA worker in the locality, said.
Union Minister for Tourism KJ Alphons, who led the literacy movement in Kottayam when he was the district collector during 1988-90, said, “At 96, she is the torchbearer for the literacy mission movement in Kerala. I admire her for her determination at this age to become literate.”
Karthiyaniamma wants to learn English in the next term.
“My great grand children are studying in an English medium school. I also want to learn English,” she said.