Kannur jail superintendent Moideen Abdulkhader smugly tells you he has no trouble controlling his inmates — many of them dreaded murder convicts. All he has to do is get them to troop to their computer class every morning. Soon enough, the room is filled with childlike cackles as the students play games and learn their alphabets.
If everything goes according to plan, this will be the country's first fully e-literate prison in six months. When the computer classes were first introduced in April, there was a scramble. "So initially, we decided to train only those who are academically qualified. But now, we use the programme to spread literacy among the inmates," Abdulkhader said. He proudly says his 'school' has almost no drop-outs.
"We are overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of the inmates. Several voluntary organisations are chipping in," Kannur district collector Ishita Roy, who is coordinating the drive, said.
"We give simple lessons in Malayalam using the "learn through play" format. After the basic training, we hope to encourage them to study further," said TK Mansoor, director of Akshaya, the state's novel programme to bridge the digital divide.