Ram Kumar, a former hotel waiter, is eagerly awaiting his release in July.
Kumar, a cheating convict lodged in Tihar, has just received a certificate confirming him as a neo-literate - his newly acquired educational skills will empower him to start and run an eatery of his own.
Kumar was among a group of 4,800 jail inmates, around 32% of the Tihar’s total population of 12,000, which was identified as unlettered by the prison authorities while beginning a literacy project ‘Padho Ya Padhao’ (study or teach). The project, which has focussed on imparting functional literacy, will soon attain its objective of attaining 100% literacy in the prison.
“The project will achieve 100% literacy by the end of March. This will be a unique feat here and would help reform inmates,” said Neeraj Kumar, Director General (prisons).
As part of the project, for two hours every morning - from 8.30am to 10.30am - Tihar's 10 sub-jails turn into classrooms. The project is run with the help of National Literacy Mission (NLM). At the end of the literacy module, a successful participant gets a certificate from the NLM, declaring him or her to be having the educational skills of a standard III student.
Most of them got certificates after successfully completing three-week vocational courses ranging from refrigerator repairing to hairdressing. These courses run parallel with the project.