A 50-year-old grandmother in Meghalaya has cleared her Class 12 humanities examination 32 years after dropping out of Class 10 because of her weakness in mathematics.
The Arts stream results of the Higher Secondary School Leaving Certificate examination were declared on Monday. The overall pass percentage was 74.34.
It was particularly satisfying for Lakyntiew Syiemlieh, who began teaching basics of Khasi language at a community-run school in Umsning Lumumpih village in 2008, three years after her husband had abandoned her for another woman.
She had her inherited house in Shillong, about 30 km uphill, to fall back on. But the rent was barely enough to raise her four children — two daughters and two sons.
Sense of satisfaction
Teaching nursery school children at the Persara Upper Primary School for ₹3,000 a month gave her a sense of satisfaction besides “that much more to sustain my family”. But what rankled in her more than a failed marriage was her educational status.
“I loved literature enough to write poems in the Khasi language. But my inability to fathom mathematics and science made me leave school in Shillong in 1988,” Ms. Syiemlieh told The Hindu on Tuesday.
She shifted to Umsning Lumumpih two years later. Raising a family subsequently took up much of her time until the breakup with the man she loved made her realise she had to reclaim her life.
Her way with children made the management of the Persara Upper Primary School in her village give her the job of introducing nursery students to the Khasi language. The opportunity to complete her Class 10 came with the National Institute of Open Schooling set up a centre at Umsning.
She enrolled for the centre’s night classes in 2015 and cleared Class 10 comfortably two years later. In 2018, she enrolled at a missionary college at Umsning for pursuing her higher secondary.
“I was a non-regular student in Class 11 because of my school duties but the college authorities gave me the freedom to attend classes whenever I found time. For Class 12, I took a year’s leave from the school management after providing them a substitute teacher,” Ms. Syiemlieh said.
Post-graduation on the cards
She has now set her eyes on a Bachelor’s degree, specialising in the Khasi language. Post-graduation is also on the cards.
“I want to go as far as possible — to show my two granddaughters, single mothers and many despairing women that there is more to life than issues at the domestic and social levels,” she said.