In a unique initiative, five convicts serving sentences in Burail Model Jail have been made “teachers” — just to educate illiterate inmates. Speaking to The Indian Express, Virat, AIG (Prisons), Chandigarh said, “Illiterate inmates, including undertrials and convicts, were identified. After this, five other convicts who were well-qualified were assigned the task of giving lessons to the illiterate inmates.”
“There are around 1,000 inmates in the jail. We have identified 60 undertrials and 16 convicted prisoners who are illiterate. Our aim is to educate the identified prisoners,” Virat said.
As per the special programme, a schedule of one-hour class has been made for the prisoners. Classes of the undertrials will begin at 10 am every day on the jail premises while the convicted inmates who are also serving rigorous imprisonment will attend classes from 4 pm. The prisoners will be taught in a group of three.
After a month, the inmates who have attended the daily class will be evaluated. If their reading and writing skills have improved, they can pursue study from National Open School through the jail, the AIG said.
Among the five convicts assigned teaching duty, one is serving sentence in an NDPS case and has done masters in English. The second one is an MBA and is serving sentence under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The third one is a Bachelor of Science graduate who is also serving sentence under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The fourth one is a Master of Technology (M Tech) and is serving sentence for hurting a public servant in the discharge of his duty. Lastly, a B Tech graduate is serving sentence in a rape case.
The inmates who will be taking classes have been provided with books and other study material. “First of all, the inmates identified for taking classes will be taught English and Hindi. If any one of them wants to learn Punjabi language too, it will be considered. They will be taught alphabets and numericals, as their syllabus relates to basic education, which is also termed adult education,” Virat said.
AIG Virat maintains “our primary aim is that anyone who has come to jail and is not able to read or write his name, he should learn it, so that when he is freed from the prison, he has some education to live his life”.
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