Rehabilitating prisoners through education

WALVIS BAY

06 August 2018 | Social Issues

Leandrea Louw

The Walvis Bay Correctional Facility received 15 computers from the Namibian Literacy Trust on Thursday.

According to superintendent Nanvula Kayoka, education officer at the facility, they have various literacy programmes for the inmates.

“One of these programmes include functional literacy, where illiterate offenders who come into custody are taught to read, write and do basic arithmetic. Competencies gained at the end of this programme is equivalent to completing grade 5,” said Kayoka.

The programme is also compulsory to all offenders who are unable to read and write. Currently seven female offenders and 20 male offenders are enrolled. The adult upper primary programme caters for offenders who ended their education in grade 5 to 9.

“In order to qualify to be enrolled with grade 10 Namcol, offenders should go through this programme. Currently 11 males and 15 females are enrolled. The basic computer programme was made possible by the trust after they donated ten laptops in 2015 and since then more than 100 offenders completed this programme. The programme runs for three months and currently 29 male offenders are enrolled.”

She further explained that the trust has also sponsored 16 offenders currently studying grade 10, and 13 offenders studying grade 12. An additional three grade 10 and three grade 12 offenders were sponsored by Namcol.

“Currently there are three male offenders who are also sponsored by the trust. One is currently studying towards his Bachelors of Education (Honours) degree at the University of Namibia, and the other two are pursuing their Diploma in Information and Technology at the Monitronic Success College. An additional three are also enrolled at tertiary institutions and are funding their own studies.”

Karel Campbell, an offender currently enrolled in the computer literacy programme, said that the skills they develop in prison can later help to develop their community and the nation at large.

“Life in prison has numerous challenges. Some of us don’t have families or money to help sustain us. Sponsorships such as these assists us tremendously. It’s difficult to find employment in our country. By acquiring these skills we can create employment for ourselves and our community.”

Assistant commissioner Erwin Axakhoeb said that basic education is vital to the success of an inmate’s re-entry into society.

“We need to keep in mind that it is the responsibility of all of us to assist offenders to become law abiding citizens, otherwise they will keep on committing crimes and we as the community will be the victims of those crimes. We therefore invite any organisation to partner with us in the rehabilitation of these offenders.”

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