Grannies of learning go digital

After winning national recognition, the mascots of women empowerment are now at the forefront of popularising online education. Moving with the Covid times, ‘Nari Shakti Puraskar’ winners 106-year-old Bhageerathi Amma from Kollam and 98-year-old Karthyayani Amma from Alappuzha have taken up the online mode of instruction to realise their dream of clearing the Class X equivalency exam.

Determined to fulfil their goals come what may, the elderly women are now learning through the computer screen instead of the blackboard. Though they took some time to get familiarised with the new learning method, the duo are now quite at ease with the ‘new normal’ that Covid times has offered.The grannies were presented with the Nari Shakthi Puraskar, a national award to recognise exceptional work for women empowerment, earlier this year. Bhageerathi Amma, who cleared the Class IV equivalency exam of the Kerala State Literacy Mission Authority (KSLMA), made news as the oldest equivalency course student. Karthyayani Amma too hit the headlines after she cleared the same exam by scoring 98 out of 100 and emerging state topper. 

Centenarian Bhageerathi Amma finds it hard to concentrate on her online classes, especially when her grandchildren are running around and playing in the house. So she and her literacy instructor Sherly spend time behind closed doors during mornings and evenings. 

Meanwhile, Karthyayani Amma is making full use of the online mode. “She spends most of her time in front of the laptop, either reading the online study material or watching ‘Aksharam’ Youtube channel of the Literacy Mission. The channel has a number of pre-recorded classroom videos and she diligently takes notes,” said Sathi, her literacy instructor, about the nonagenarian’s routine. 

KSLMA director P S Sreekala had called up the instructors to know their progress on the eve of International Literacy Day.  Both are presently pursuing their eight-month-long ‘Class VII equivalency course’. Once they clear this course, they will be eligible for the Class X equivalency course which is recognised as equivalent to matriculation.

The story has been extracted from

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