Standing tall behind the bars

Three prisoner-examinees, out of sixteen, have passed the first graduate level examination of Nalanda Open University (NOU) at its Beur jail study centre, the result of which was published a few days ago.

Earlier, 29 examinees out of 31 had passed the certificate level computer education course at the prison for which two inmates having B Tech and MCA degrees voluntarily served as faculty members sans remuneration.

Those who cleared the BA part I examination, 2009, had opted for History honours. The examination was held at Beur jail centre in April.

Though the success figure at this examination was not much encouraging, the number of admission seekers in prison in NOU courses has sharply increased this session. By August 28, altogether 27 jail inmates had already been admitted to different courses. Remarkably, the jail inmates have also opted for admission to some vocational courses including computer applications, besides Intermediate and Bachelor level educational programmes.

According to NOU authorities, the free of cost education linked with university's degree within the jail premises has proved a boon for those hailing from poor background. It also offered them the opportunity to utilise their days behind the bars to gain knowledge and be equipped in time for the world outside.

Conceding to the suggestions made by the jail administration, NOU has also decided to introduce a new job-oriented course, Desktop Publishing (DTP), incorporating computer education with printing technology this year, said NOU Registrar Dr SP Sinha. 

He said many of the inmates, both under trial and convicted, sought such market savvy courses that would enable them to get employment once they were out of the prison bars. Though NOU has already installed four computers at the jail study centre, it would make available four more systems for the DTP course, he added.

The Beur study centre of NOU offers free of cost education to jail inmates and they are exempted even from the examination fee.

The university has already set up a library with about 1500 books and now it intends to enrich it with more titles on various subjects including human rights, religion, computer and science. Besides, the NOU has also made available several sets of its self-learning manual for prisoners benefit.

However, what still concerns the NOU is the non-enrollment of women prisoners.

"We would soon arrange counseling programme for women inmates so that they too can join other inmates in getting higher education at Beur study centre," said Sinha.


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