Achtung menschen: Tihar jail inmates learn to speak German and French
This is the first time foreign language classes are being held in India’s largest prison. Started in jail number one, 40 inmates have currently learning German, while 17 are studying French. Most students have at least a Class 10 certificate.delhi Updated: Jul 02, 2017 11:19 IST
A group of prisoners are involved in a different kind of learning in Tihar jail — instead of the usual discipline, they are being taught foreign languages. And who is teaching them? Their fellow inmates, who have volunteered to do the same.
This is the first time foreign language classes are being held in the country’s largest prison. Started in jail number one, 40 inmates have currently learning German, while 17 are studying French.
The idea to start these courses was conceived two months ago, when some educated inmates arrived the jail, and offered to teach the languages during their stint inside. While convicted prisoners are assigned regular jobs, those undergoing trial do not have any chores.
“When the new inmates volunteered to teach German, we went to the wards and asked others if they were interested in learning it. At least 18 persons raised their hands and said they were willing to take the classes. In the last few weeks, many others expressed interest. The number of students increased to 40 later. These days, we have two to three classes a week,” said a jail official.
Most students are those who have at least a Class 10 certificate. Jail superintendent Subhash Chandra said, “We started the courses intending to help our inmates once they are out of here. Many inmates here have committed the crimes because their circumstances were wrong. Learning a new language will benefit them once they are out of the prison.”
According to Chandra, the new courses have made them optimistic and given them a positive outlook. Some of them even try conversing with each other in German, he said.
Apart from the foreign languages, prisoners are taught Hindi, English and Urdu. The prisoners have started a Padho aur Padhao campaign across the jails, with an aim to make each of them literate.
MOTOR BINDING/FANS TRAINING-
Apart from the language courses, some prisoners have recently completed a course in electric al and motor repairs, said Chandra. “We are training our inmates in different skill sets. Recently, when we had to repair and service all the fans in our jail. We did not have to go outside. Our inmates repaired them. All of them are learning new skills,” the superintendent said.