105-year-old woman in Kerala gives her Class IV exams, proves age is just a number

With memory and eyesight intact, 105-year-old Bhageerathi Amma appeared for her Class IV exams, proving there is no end to learning. She is the oldest literacy equivalency learner under Kerala State Literacy Mission.

23rd Nov 2019
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In the school of life, one never stops learning. But what if you never got a shot at formal education, and all that it entailed? Brown paper-wrapped textbooks, white shoes, and homework assignments, and the joy of summer holidays!


For Kerala’s 105-year-old Bhageerathi Amma, formal education came to a hard stop when she was just nine years old, but that didn’t stop the centenarian from appearing for exams recently. Bhageerathi Amma gave her Class IV literacy equivalency exams—conducted by the State Literacy Mission—in Malayalam, Mathematics, and Environment, all from her own home.


Bhageerathi Amma took a day for each exam, but before you assume that age slowed her down, her memory and eyesight are still intact and held her in good stead. Her 67-year-old daughter was present to help her during the exams.


centenarian, kerala education



This passion for education isn’t something new for Bhageerathi Amma, who always had a keen interest to study further. But she was saddled with a lot of responsibility as her husband passed away when she was just in her thirties and she had to care for their six children all on her own. Education, as a result, took a backseat.


According to The Logical Indian, Amma is the oldest literacy equivalency learner under Kerala State Literary Mission.


KB Vasantha Kumar, from the Literacy Mission who was the invigilator for Amma and oversaw her exams, told The Indian Express that the centenarian was very enthusiastic.


“But the only problem was that she found it tiring to write continuously. That’s why we scheduled the tests on three separate days. Since she couldn’t travel to the exam centre, we allowed her to take them to her home. She was very happy with her performance.”


Amma had to grow up quickly because of her family circumstances. Her mother’s passing when she was just nine years old put a stop to her education as she had to look after her younger sibling, reports News 18.


“It gives us so much happiness to see Bhageerathi Amma write the examination at such an advanced age. When Karthyayi Amma wrote the exam last year, she was inspired to take the exam too. That gave us confidence too,” Vasantha Kumar said.


(Edited by Evelyn Ratnakumar)



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