On re-election in 2016, the LDF government in Kerala had made it clear that it was committed to ensuring 100% literacy and providing access to education to every single person in the state. On Wednesday in a gesture that certainly furthers those promises, the state’s education minister gifted a laptop to a 96-year-old woman who made history by becoming the oldest person to clear the state’s literacy exam as part of the ‘Aksharalaksham’ mission.
Karthyayini Amma, who scored 98 marks out of 100 in the literacy exam at the age of 96 last month, had expressed her desire to learn how to operate a computer and also to write the class 10 equivalency exam soon. On Wednesday, C Raveendranath, the education minister, visited her home in Cheppad in Alappuzha district and gifted her the laptop. An overjoyed Karthayayini Amma who was taken by surprise with the gift, impressed the minister by typing her own name in English on the laptop.
Sources close to the minister said he visited her house when he was in the area to take part in an official engagement. When someone told him that the nonagenarian wanted a computer, he visited a shop nearby and bought a Dell laptop worth Rs 25,000 and gifted it to her in an official capacity. Public education director KV Mohan Kumar accompanied the minister.
Karthyayini Amma, who never went to school in her life and raised her family by working as a sweeper and domestic help, lives with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren at a humble home in Cheppad. She enrolled herself for the literacy exam earlier this year and spent months preparing for the exam in August with the help of a teacher. She told the Indian Express last month that she was happy she scored 98%, but also a bit sad to lose out on two marks. She added she wanted to study as long as she was healthy.