Dream run for techno teen prodigy
If all goes well, then 13-year-old Mekala Ashok will be one of the youngest engineers in the country. Son of illiterate parents, who work as farm labour, Ashok passed his class X exams at age 11, and at age 13, cleared the common entrance engineering state exam. At the counselling session after the entrance test, Mekala was selected to a course of electrical engineering at a city college. But he was later refused admission by the department of technical education on grounds of being underage.
That was a blow for Ashok and his poor parents who laboured hard to get their son and two daughters to go to school. “We want our children not to lead a wretched life like us. We want them to be well settled,” Ramulu, Ashok’s father who has never been to school, stated.
When making desperate rounds of officials in the education department proved futile, Mekala and his parents went to their local MLA, Jalagam Venkat Rao, a US-educated technocrat-turned-lawmaker. The MLA took the boy to meet chief minister Dr YS Rajsekhar Reddy. The chief minister was impressed with the boy’s achievement and directed the education department to issue a government order exempting him from the minimum age criteria.
Ashok will now be able to pursue his ambition. “I want to get into the civil services to help the poor,” he said.