Bhageerathi Amma, a 105-year-old great-grandmother has become the oldest person to clear the Kerala literacy exam, which is equivalent to class 4 level education, with 74.5 per cent marks. At the age of nine, she was forced to drop out of school by her mother. She had formal education till class 3.
The mother of five and grandmother of 13 children, appearing for the Kerala Literacy Mission exam, took three exams including Malayalam, mathematics and environmental science. Read more on the struggle she faced.
Bhageerathi Amma has surpassed the previous record created by Karthiyani Amma. In 2018, 96-year-old Karthiyani Amma was among top scorers of the literacy exam by scoring 98 out of 100 marks. Karthiyani, who had never been to school, was working as a domestic help and cleaning staff.
The Kerala State Literacy Mission Authority, under the General Education Department, Government of India holds the exam every year. Several educational training programmes are conducted after which candidates have to appear for an exam to ensure they possess an education level equivalent to qualifying as literate and at the level of class 4.
As per the official website, a total of 1,605 candidates appeared for the fourth standard equivalency examination as part of the Aksharasagaram first phase. Out of this, 59 belonged to Scheduled Caste communities and one was from the Scheduled Tribe. The first phase was implemented in 13 coastal panchayats in Thiruvananthapuram, Malappuram and Kasaragod.
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