The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) will establish satellite connectivity linking all Central prisons with its teaching platform in New Delhi.

The move follows the decision to waive fee for all courses, including post-graduation and research programmes, offered by the university to inmates lodged in prisons across the country.

According to IGNOU Regional Director K. Panneerselvam, the decision to waive the fee was taken at a high-level meeting convened by Vice-Chancellor V.N. Rajashekaran Pillai in New Delhi recently.

Special study centres would be established in all Central prisons.

“The IGNOU has now thrown open the gates for prisoners to join any course of their choice free of cost. Besides providing study material and faculty support, we have decided to establish satellite connectivity linking all Central prisons in Tamil Nadu to the teaching end at the IGNOU headquarters in New Delhi for live support,” Dr.Panneerselvam told The Hindu here on Monday.

“The board of management has passed a resolution appreciating the contribution of former Director-General of Police (Prisons) R. Natraj in motivating prisoners to join different courses.” When contacted Mr. Natraj, presently Director of Fire and Rescue Services, said the fee waiver would be a great motivating factor. “Poverty and illiteracy are the two main causes of crimes in this country.”

Additional Director-General of Police (Prisons) K.R. Shyamsundar said Prison Superintendents would be asked to maintain a data on those needing literacy in prisons.

Prison Department sources said about 1,000 prisoners were enrolled in various courses.

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