She is 96 years old, and in 2020 she took social media by storm for topping a literacy exam with 98 marks out of 100! Yes, you must surely have heard about Karthiyani Amma, from Muttom village in Alappuzha, Kerala. She made headlines for her not-so-mean achievement, and social media went gaga over this granny and her accomplishment. Incredibly, she was the oldest to appear for the exam, and she topped it to boot. Just goes to show the enthusiasm she has for learning, which prompted her to enroll voluntarily in the ‘Aksharalaksham’ project of the Kerala State Literacy Mission Authority, which aims at achieving 100% literacy in the state. She was given a special congratulatory certificate by none other than the Kerala Chief Minister, Mr. Pinarayi Vijayan himself.
A literacy project was launched by the Kerala State Literacy Mission Authority to ensure 100 percent literacy in the state. They trained 47,241 illiterates from various sections of the society under this program. Karthiyani Amma voluntarily registered under this program, because of her interest to learn to read and write and calculate. She had never been to a school in her life and earned a living by working as cleaning staff in a few temples in her village. She was also helped by her great-grandchildren to study. Her daughter Ammini Amma, a school dropout, qualified her tenth exam through a continued education program in 2016 and that is what made Karthiyani Amma also to take up the challenge.
42,933 people among all the takers cleared the exam conducted in the state in five levels – Class IV, VII, X, XI, and XII. And Karthiyani Amma topped the Class IV exam, and the whole mission personnel is proud of her achievement. They say she is eager and has a good memory. She has not just cleared the exam, but also won so many hearts, by being an inspiration to others to follow suit. The people who enrolled in the mission were trained and tested for various skills, including reading, writing, and mathematics. She is thrilled at clearing the test and also topping it and vowed to continue her studies!
The success and fame of Karthiyani Amma did not happen by chance. There seems to be a fierce desire to learn, and she did not allow her age to become an obstacle. It was aided by the state’s mission to achieve 100% literacy, but her registration was voluntary, and one could not force people to learn at that age in any case. So, Karthiyani Amma has shown exemplary courage and positive outlook in ‘going to school’ at an age when most consider that perhaps life is all but over. And she did not just take it lightly; she put her heart and mind to it and did not allow her age issues to hamper her learning in any way as well. This is why she topped the exam when everyone else who appeared was much younger to her.
That’s not all, she also expressed an interest in learning computers, and she was promptly gifted a laptop by the state education minister. And she wants to learn English too! Who knows, with the kind of enthusiasm she is showing for learning, we may well get to see a Facebook page or Tweets from Karthiyani Amma. And why not, social media is not new to octogenarians and nonagenarians taking to it. These people are just busting all myths that age is an issue that is stopping people from pursuing their dreams and achieving things in life.
Karthiyani Amma is a living example of why seniors should never give up in life on learning. Learning could be any new skill, like arts and crafts, painting, dancing, sports, or any form of hobby. The bottom line is, use age for you rather than against you and use it to the best advantage. Learning always gives a new purpose in life and keeps your mind fresh and active. It also creates positivity all around and prompts others to follow suit.