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General News Thu, 30 Jun 2005

20 Prisoners to sit BECE in 2007

About 20 prisoners in Kumasi have begun education studies towards the Basic School Certificate Examination (BECE) in 2007 following an educational initiative by the authorities at the Kumasi Central Prison.

The inmates, whose ages range between 20 and 30, constitute the first batch to take advantage of the prison authority?s decision to provide free lessons for prisoners who are willing to study and improve themselves.

It is a collaborative effort in which some of the inmates, who were teachers and prison officers who have skills in teaching, are providing tuition in all the subject areas, while the Ashanti Regional Directorate of the Ghana Education Service (GES) is providing the requisite syllabi and materials needed for teaching and learning.

The Ashanti Regional Commander of the Prisons Service, Mr Tweneboah Koduah, announced this when authorities of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), led by the Pro- Vice Chancellor, Professor Akwasi Adarkwa, presented assorted books valued at ?25 million to the Prisons Service.

The donation, which included books on Science, Environmental Studies, Computer Studies, English, Sports, Electronics and a set of encyclopedia, was to facilitate serious academic work among the inmates and officers of the Prisons Service and build their capacity.

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Mr Koduah explained that the basic school run by the Ghana Prisons Service was set up in April 2004, with assistance from the Ministry of Education and Sports, to provide formal education for the inmates.

He said initially, 60 of the inmates enrolled, but as a result of the transfer of some of the inmates to other prisons, the number was reduced to 20, stressing that the 20 would be registered to sit for the BECE in April 2007.

He said many of the inmates had shown interest and gave the assurance that the service was more determined than ever to build the capacity of the inmates, in the hope of reforming them more effectively.

That, he said, would make it possible for them to acquire the requisite skills to contribute more meaningfully towards sustainable development in the country.

Mr Kodua commended KNUST for responding to the request of the Ghana Prisons Service to provide it with the requisite books to stock its library and gave the assurance that the service would take good care of the books.

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He said the books would be distributed to all the prisons in the region to enable as many inmates and officers as possible to benefit from the gesture.

Earlier, Professor Adarkwa had given the assurance that the university would continue to provide various forms of assistance for the Ghana Prisons Service in the form of books and other materials to enable the inmates to concentrate on their academic work and excel in their examinations.

He said in some countries, inmates of prisons were able to acquire chains of degrees from private studies they undertook while they served their terms.

Professor Adarkwa said although Ghana had not developed to that stage, the practice could be introduced into the country, as a way of building the capacity of inmates more adequately.

He commended Mr Kodua for his sense of initiative and called for more support and assistance from other institutions and individuals to ensure that as many inmates as possible got the opportunity to study, stressing that being in prison did not disqualify the inmates who had the ability to study from doing so.

Source: Daily Graphic