In a boost to efforts aimed at increasing educational opportunities for inmates of the Tihar Jail, the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) has decided to waive off their fees for appearing in matriculation and senior secondary examinations.
Further, the NIOS, which currently runs a centre in sub-jail No. 3, has also decided to open nine more centres — one each for the prison’s other nine sub-jails, according to a jail source.
The NIOS currently charges around Rs700 from an inmate seeking to appear in any of the two examinations. The NIOS provides study materials to the inmates for free, said the source.
Every year, around 200 inmates appear for the matriculation and senior secondary examinations. The jail authorities are expecting a rise in the number as a result of the NIOS’s move, said the source. Of the 200 examinees, roughly 50% are usually successful, the source added.
The prison’s law officer, Sunil Gupta, confirmed, “The NIOS has decided to waive off the fees it used to charge from inmates appearing for matriculation or senior secondary examinations. It will also be opening nine more centres in Tihar.”
The NIOS will also be soon opening its vocational training centres at the prison’s 10 sub-jails. “These vocational centres would give technical training to inmates,” said Gupta.
Tihar recently achieved a rare feat for a facility of its kind — 100% literacy among inmates via its Padho Ya Padhao (Teach or Be Taught) project that was launched last April. As many as 2,500 prisoners in Tihar, who were identified as illiterate in a survey last April, were introduced to the world of letters by the project’s teaching sessions spread over three months.
Each of these 2, 500 inmates acquired the skills of a Class 3 student.