Education / Inspiration / Kool Kanya News

50-Year-Old Woman Clears Class 12 Exams 32 Years After Dropping Out Of School

. 4 min read . Written by Sanjana Bhagwat
50-Year-Old Woman Clears Class 12 Exams 32 Years After Dropping Out Of School

Fifty-year-old Lakyntiew Syiemlieh of Meghalaya, a single mother of four and grandmother of two, has cleared her class 12 examinations, 32 years after dropping out of school.

Fondly referred to as “Mei” – Khasi for mother – by kids at her school, Syiemlieh was one of 24,267 students who appeared for the state board’s Higher Secondary School Leaving Certificate Arts stream examination this year.

Syiemlieh’s Journey Of Reacquainting With Academics After Over Three Decades

Syiemlieh dropped out of school in 1988, when her struggle with mathematics resulted in her not clearing the Class 10 exams. “After that, life took a different course — I got married at 21, had four kids. Unfortunately, the marriage did not work out,” Syiemlieh told Indian Express.

She supported her family as a single mother by teaching Khasi to children in the local village. This, she says, is when her passion for re-learning began.

“I enrolled myself for evening classes at the National Institute of Open Schooling at Umsning, and two years later, I managed to pass Class 10!” she said. She had to juggle between her job during the day and her classes at night. “It was difficult,” she admits.

Determined to study through to Class 12 as well, Syiemlieh got permission from the school authorities for a special gap year, and attended classes as a regular student at the Balawan College in Umsning. “It was crucial I attended school because that was the only way I would be able to concentrate and do well, since Class 12 is important,” she said.

The enthusiastic and dedicated Syiemlieh would wear her school uniform, attend classes with students nearly three decades her junior, and participate in all the school activities. . “We all became great friends, I would attend class, go for field trips, take part in dance competitions, sing with them,” she laughs.

Image courtesy: indianexpress.com

Truly embodying being a student, Syiemlieh pulled off a lot of late nights when preparing for exams. For her , however, the late nights stemmed from having to take care of other household, and work responsibilities, even if it was examination week. In addition to attending classes, Syiemlieh also holds the post of Master Book Keeper( MBK) of the village, and is an active member of the village Self Help Group (SHG).

Her Friends And Family Are Proud Of Her, And She Is The Most Happy For Herself

Syiemlieh and her family anxiously awaited the results declared on 13th July. When she found out that she had passed, with third division, she said she was “very happy”, even calling it the happiest day of her life.

“My children are so thrilled that they started shouting, hugging and kissing me when the results were declared yesterday. In fact, it was the happiest day of my life,” she told Indian Express.

Her 28-year-old daughter, Ibaphylla , who took care of the household while her mother went to school, says her Syiemlieh is an inspiration. “I am just so happy and proud to have her as my mother – she is talented, inspiring and caring,” said

The principal of the school she attended says people like Syiemlieh are rare. “To be honest, we were surprised. Sometimes, we have 30-year-olds, who have just gotten married, attending classes. But a 50-year-old, and with her level of enthusiasm and dedication, is just rare.”

This Is Not The End Of Syiemlieh’s Educational Journey

Syiemlieh’s journey of learning doesn’t end here. She has already determined what she wants to do next – pursue a Bachelor’s degree in her favourite language, Khasi. She loves poetry, and intends to do her part to keep the traditional language alive

“I understand the importance of education — without it we are simply nothing,” says Syiemlieh.

Syiemlieh’s triumphant story is a compelling case for lifelong learning. Her dedication, passion, and desire to constantly grow, are a much needed reminder of the joys of learning that students tend to take for granted, and the importance of better access to education for those who don’t have that privilege.

There are many barriers to education in India, especially for women. Age – as Syiemlieh proves – is not one of them.

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