Age is just a number, especially when it comes to education. Learning and adding constant knowledge to oneself must be a matter of pride and no one should feel ashamed of going back to school at any time in life. Such is one inspiring story from Kerala, where it was a triple whammy for a Malappuram family, where the son and his parents, all passed their Class 12 exam in 2020.
It was a joyous occasion for father Muhammed Musthafa and mother Nusaiba, who passed their class 12th equivalency exams in March. The family’s joy was only amplified when their son, Shammas, cleared his own regular class 12 examinations four months later in July 2020.
Musthafa, a 43-year-old businessman, had moved to the Gulf as a young man, just after finishing his Class 10 in search of a job. He worked for a very long time at a veterinary clinic in Abu Dhabi. Later, several years ago, he got married to Nusaiba, during his visit to his hometown. The lady, who is in her late 30s now, also joined him in the Gulf and stayed there. Nusaiba kept regretting for not completing Class 12 until few years ago.
However, when the couple returned to India in 2015, Musthafa, remembered his wife’s desire about completing her education and thus, he started enquiring at several centres about ways to write Class 12 exams after a such a long gap. Nothing was working out until one day, he saw a notice board at the Mangala panchayat office about the Kerala Literacy Mission’s equivalency exams.
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This is when not just Nusaiba, but Musthafa too decided to enrol for the Sunday classes that gave them time to study during the weekend and in the late evenings when business hours were over. As reported by The News Minute, Musthafa said,
Both of us are working in the business together, so that’s all the time we could take out for studying. Our son was excited to know about our enrolment. He would help us with our doubts and ask us questions too. He has always been good at studies, getting A+ in all subjects both in Class 10 and 11.
This year, when there was a break in classes due to the coronavirus, there was some difficulty and he missed A+ only for one subject by three marks.
Attending Weekend Classes
The Sunday classes were fun for the couple with people of all ages attending too. As quoted by the father,
We also had cultural programmes like in regular schools. I participated in men’s oppana (a traditional dance form) and speech competition and came second in the latter. My wife’s team got first for women’s oppana at the [coaching] centre.
The family also enjoyed preparing for the exams together. The efforts of both Musthafa and Nusaiba paid off and they fared pretty well in their exams. The mother achieved more than 80%, while the father scored a first class too. However, Musthafa’s trips away for business had kept him away from classes on several Sundays, and thus he said he couldn’t score more. He said,
Once, we even discovered that we have a common teacher. Naser sir, who taught us accountancy, was also our son’s teacher at a tuition centre.
Nusaiba, Musthafa and Shammas have chosen the commerce stream to study further. While Shammas has already applied for Chartered Accountancy, Nusaiba and Musthafa will be opting to do Bachelors in Commerce after this. The couple also has two more children – a son in Class 8 and a daughter in Class 4. Mustafa concludes,
We were initially trying to keep it within the family, the story about my wife and I writing the exam. Since we are doing it so late, we were slightly embarrassed about it.
But we understood there was no reason to be embarrassed when all the calls that came were congratulatory. We even managed to inspire some people who realised that it is never too late to study more.
Here’s hoping that this story motivates many more middle age couples to take up new learnings — which could carve a new path for them — so that they can be totally independent and age gracefully.
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