Karthiyayini Amma who scored big on Kerala literacy exam passes away at 101

A native of Haripad, in Alappuzha, Karthiyayini Amma stood first in the Aksharalaksham examinations of the Kerala State Literacy Mission Authority with 98% marks when she was 96.
Karthyayani Amma with Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan | Twitter
Karthyayani Amma with Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan | Twitter

ALAPPUZHA: Karthiyayini Amma, the recipient of the country's highest civilian award ‘Nari Shakti Puraskar’, for proving that age was no bar in the quest for knowledge, passed away on Wednesday at her residence in Cheppad village in the coastal Alappuzha district due to age-related ailments. She was 101.

A native of Haripad, in Alappuzha, Karthiyayini Amma, was also the Commonwealth of Learning Goodwill Ambassador in 2019. 

She stood first in the Aksharalaksham examinations of the Kerala State Literacy Mission Authority (KSLMA) with 98% marks when she was 96, making her a celebrity of sorts. 

Karthiyayini Amma joined the ‘Aksharaleksham’ course of the literacy mission in January 2018.  

The mission, whose objective is to strive for 100% literacy focusing mainly on the 16-75 age group, arranged the exams for the people, who did not attend regular schools. They can study fourth standard, seventh standard, tenth standard, and higher secondary equivalency courses of the literacy mission and attend the examinations, irrespective of their age. In order to attend the fourth standard, a student should clear the Aksharaleksham course. 

At that time, there were 43,000 students in the course, and Karthiyayini Amma was the eldest among the 'students'. She later finished 10 equivalency examinations with the top marks in 2020.

She suffered a stroke in September 2022 and was partially paralyzed. Her final rites will be held on Thursday at 11 a.m.

Expressing condolences on her demise, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday recalled meeting her after she won the award and indicating her desire to study further and get a job after clearing the 10th standard.

"There was confidence and determination in those words," Vijayan said in a Facebook post.

He also posted a condolence message on the social media platform X where the CM said that Karthyayani Amma served as an inspiring role model for many through her unwavering determination to pursue education despite challenges.

"Deeply saddened by the passing of Karthyayani Amma, who made history by becoming the oldest learner under the State Literacy Mission.

She served as an inspiring role model for many, showing unwavering determination to pursue education despite challenges. "Her demise is a significant loss to our literacy movement, which helped shape modern Kerala. Heartfelt condolences," he said.

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