ZAMBIA Prisons Service Commissioner Percy Chato has said illiterate prisoners find it difficult to respond to rehabilitation programmes or delay to appreciate character building activities.
Mr Chato said the prisons service has been able to sustain the prisoner’s education programme with the help from Ministry of Education through the supply of learning materials.
Mr Chato said the service has set a vision to change the attitude and behaviour of inmates through training, literacy, basic education and vocational skills so that upon release from prison they are reintegrated into society as resourceful citizens.
Speaking during the review and planning meeting organised by the Ministry of Education, Mr Chato said prisoners’ education programmes were introduced in 1964 by then Republican President Kenneth Kaunda.
Mr Chato disclosed that a total of 12 inmates are currently pursuing Bachelor of Arts degree programmes in education with Nkrumah University College.
Ministry of Education acting Permanent Secretary, Owen M’gemezulu said the ministry provided education to inmates who might have committed offences due to ignorance.
Mr M’gemezulu said due to the importance the ministry attaches to the education of inmates, it had organised the workshop to review the performance of the educational programme in prisons in order to improve on quality.
He added that he was hopeful that the workshop would enable both Home Affairs and Education ministries plan adequately to provide quality education for inmates using the new curriculum to reduce illiteracy in prisons.
Meanwhile, Central Province Permanent Secretary, Edwidge Mutale stressed the importance of prisoners being given a chance to acquire higher levels of education while in prisons.
Ms Mutale said once the inmates left prison, they would have a trade which would assist them fit in society after serving the sentence.
Times of Zambia