In India, jails are normally used to punish criminals for the crimes that they have committed, but in Telangana, prisoners are being provided with an opportunity to reform themselves through various schemes, one of which is the “Vidyadanam Scheme”, that aims to make them literate.
Started by the state government’s Director General (Prisons) V.K. Singh, the “Vidyadanam Scheme” involves literate prisoners educating their fellow illiterate inmates.
Divulging details of the scheme, Singh told ANI, “Generally, the prisoners in Indian jails are illiterate. Almost 35 to 40 percent of the prisoners are illiterate. They don’t know how to sign also. When I joined, I thought it would be a great social contribution if we are able to make all these illiterate prisoners literate. So, I started a programme named “Vidyadanam Scheme” under which we started segregating the illiterate prisoners and educated prisoners.”
“Educated prisoners are used as teachers who have taken up the task of training all illiterate prisoners. We also have the system of taking monthly examinations. We have a three-month semester system, and so, if a person has been in jail for a year, the first three months would mean that he is spending time in standard first, and so on,” he added.
Singh further asserted that they have been able to provide literacy to around 29,000 prisoners in 2015 and 17,000 prisoners so far in 2016.