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Central Prison launches literacy drive

Empowerment: Inmates of Coimbatore Central Prison line up to enter the examination hall on December 08, 2008. –

Empowerment: Inmates of Coimbatore Central Prison line up to enter the examination hall on December 08, 2008. –   | Photo Credit: Photo: K. Ananthan

V.S. Palaniappan

Coimbatore: The Coimbatore Central Prison is using the talents of literate prisoners to provide basic education to illiterate prisoners.

Of the total 2,204 prisoners as on date, 1,327 have been identified as literates and 877 illiterates. From among the literates, 200 volunteers are helping out the illiterates read and count.

The Superintendent of Prisons, P. Govindarajan, told The Hindu that the initiative is being undertaken following the instructions of Director-General of Prisons, R. Nataraj. Now for every block there would be one volunteer and every volunteer would be entrusted with the job of educating two or three prisoners.

The Central Prison already has 124 degree holders or post-graduates. Some voluntary organisations have come forward to provide text books and stationery materials. Valarkalvi would provide the teaching material.

If provided formal education or skills for taking up entrepreneurial ventures, a prisoner can get a new lease of life once discharged from prison, Mr. Govindarajan said.

A total of 206 prisoners are in the process of pursuing higher education now. The Central Prison recently acquired the status of a Government examination centre and 48 prisoners wrote ESLC examinations.

The authorities are now preparing nearly 50 candidates to write SSLC examinations. A total of 47 prisoners have registered for higher education with the school of distance education of Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, 74 with Indira Gandhi National Open University, 29 with Madras University, 20 with Bharathiar University and 25 with Tamil Nadu Open University during 2009.

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