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UP jails to double up as educational hubs for prisoners

Enthused by the performance of jail inmates in UP board exams, the state prison department has decided to give inmates a chance to pursue secondary and higher education besides increasing IGNOU centres in jails.



Lucknow: Enthused by the performance of jail inmates in UP board exams, the state prison department has decided to give inmates a chance to pursue secondary and higher education besides increasing IGNOU centres in jails.

Last year the department started an experiment wherein some inmates were allowed to appear in the UP Secondary Education Board High School and Intermediate Examinations.

"In all 140 prisoners enrolled and they all cleared the examination with flying colours. In fact our result was better than the average result of the board,” Additional
Director General of Police (Prison) Sulkah Singh told reporters.

While Monu Singh, lodged in Ghaziabad jail, scored 80.4 per cent marks, Rajiv, lodged in Bareilly jail, scored 69 per cent.

"The result has been encouraging and this year we plan to set up centres in more jails, as compared to seven such centres last time," he said.

"We want to give 100 per cent educational cover to all inmates, whether they are convicts or undertrials," he said.

The ADG said that the department plans to enrol minimum 1000 inmates for the board examinations in 2010-2011.

"We are trying to motivate more and more inmates to take up board examinations and wherever required informal classes would be set up in coordination with the district
administration authorities," he said.

"Our effort is to ensure that inmates get best education. Therefore, other than informal education centres, we have roped in our own staff, qualified prisoners and volunteers, who are being paid for taking classes," the ADG said.

He said that number of centres would depend upon the inmates willing to pursue secondary education.

"Other than secondary education, we are also emphasising on higher education, for which centres of Indira Gandhi Open University (IGNOU) would be set up in five
prisons," he said.

These jails include Agra, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Meerut and Ghaziabad, he said, adding that the number of IGNOU centres would be increased to eight.

"We already have three centres in Lucknow model jail, Naini and Bareilly," he said.

"The response from the inmates is very encouraging as 125 have already enrolled in Meerut jail, followed by 98 in central jail Bareilly," the ADG said.

He said that on the initiative of the state prison department, the IGNOU has waived off tuition, admission and late fees of inmates.
"This had been done across the country only due to the overwhelming response from the inmates in UP to pursue higher education," he said.

He said that under reformatory programme, primary classes had been set up in jails across the state.
"Our idea is that once the primary education is over the inmates should get a chance to pursue secondary and higher education as well," he said.

At present there are 61 custodial institutions in the state with total strength of 85,000 prisoners including convicts and undertrials.

PTI

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