Pitalla Ramakrishna's is finally doing what he wanted to do since he was 10 — to educate himself. The 19-year-old farmhand, from Rebbavaram village in Khammam district, 300 km northeast of Hyderabad, is set to be part of the information technology revolution that has changed the face of India's economy and transformed lives of millions.
Ramakrishna's life has been a long struggle. He was a child when his father, the only earning hand, was left mentally retarded after a bout of high fever. His mother, Annapurna, took over the father's role. The money she made from farm labour couldn't ensure a meal a day. When he was 10, he joined his mother to supplement income. But, didn't give up on his dream- education.
This year, Ramakrishna topped the district in the Class X examination with a score of 522 of 600. He took admission in a polytechnic in nearby Wyra and continued to work as he waited for classes to get underway.
The 87 per cent marks also made him eligible for the Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) entrance examination. He got through and was offered a seat in IIIT, Nuziveedu in Vijayawada district, but didn't have the money to pay an annual fee of Rs 26,000.
Fortunately for him, the institute agreed to wave his entire tuition fee of Rs 1.56 lakh for the six-year course as he comes from one of the Other Backward Classes, while a local NGO, the Nimagadda Foundation, has offered to pay other expenses, including hostel fees (estimated at Rs 1.8 lakh or Rs 30,000 a year). He is ready to script a new life and some software.