‘Age is not a barrier to education. I studied well, and am going to do well in the examination too,’ said a confident Sumathi Ammal, an 85-year-old woman who was at the BNV Boys Higher Secondary School, Thiruvallam, on Sunday to appear for ‘Mikavutsavam,’ conducted as part of the Aksharasree literacy programme of the Kerala State Literacy Mission Authority.
Like Sumathi Ammal, there were many who could not hide their joy at getting a chance to study in the dusk of their lives.
Subhadramma, 83, of Thrikannapuram who had reached the Abraham Memorial Union Library at Thrikkannapuram for the exam is intent on not only clearing the literacy examination but also completing Class 4 equivalency and if possible, the Class 10 equivalency too.
At the Pachalloor Kanyarnada Community Hall, 79-year-old Leela wrote the exam with her daughter Bhavana and 77-year-old Rajamma with her daughter Vasanthi. Inspired by their mothers, Bhavana and Vasanthi too want to study to the extent possible. Thaslima, 21, of Perunthanni was the youngest of those taking the exam.
The 100-mark Mikavutsavam, which follows a novel format in a departure from the usual literacy examinations, tested the learners on their reading (30 marks), writing (40 marks), and Mathematics (30 marks) abilities. The minimum pass mark was 30.
As many as 2,050 learners from 74 wards of the city Corporation took the exam. The 697 learners in the 26 wards of the Vattiyurkavu constitueny will appear for Mikavutsavam later on account of byelection there.
Aksharasree classes began on March 15 for 8,500 learners from literacy to higher secondary equivalency at 500 study centres across 100 Corporation wards.