Examination fever has gripped inmates in the high-security Tihar Jail in New Delhi as they prepare to appear in various examinations conducted by the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) in March.
"This March, 150 prisoners that include 138 male prisoners and 12 female prisoners, will take up the examinations for graduation, post-graduation and professional courses at IGNOU's study campus in Tihar," said Sunil Kumar Gupta, Tihar's public relations and law officer.
According to Gupta, at present there are 450 inmates enrolled in IGNOU for different courses. The most sought after courses are graduation, post-graduation, bachelor of computer applications (BCA) and bachelor of business administration (BBA).
Talking about the criteria for enrolment, he said: "There are no criteria as such for these inmates. Anyone interested can get himself or herself enrolled and the prison authorities will bear the expenses.
"IGNOU has set up a study campus inside the prison where these prisoners study from 8 am to 12 noon. They conduct tests twice a year, one in October and the other in March," Gupta said.
The education programme in Tihar, home to over 14,000 inmates against its capacity of 6,250, was the brainchild of former inspector-general (prisons) Kiran Bedi, who started it in 1994.
So far, 3,000 inmates have benefited from the programme in one of Asia's biggest prisons.