'Great strides' in KZN jails as prisoners prepare to sit matric exams

Forty-two inmates at KZN prisons are ready for their matric exams next week, the correctional services department said.
Forty-two inmates at KZN prisons are ready for their matric exams next week, the correctional services department said.
Image: 123RF/Stockstudio44

Forty-two prisoners in KwaZulu-Natal are gearing up to sit their matric exams from next week, the correctional services department says.

The department boasted on Wednesday about the strides it had made in the past few years in making education accessible to prisoners, including full-time schools being set up in three prisons.

The schools are uSethubeni in Westville prison, Qalakabusha at Empangeni prison and Ekuseni Secondary School at Waterval prison.

Teachers’ summits, parent meetings and winter camps - supported by the department of education - were among the interventions implemented this year to ensure readiness for the exams.

“Matric dances were also held - as a moral and emotional boost as part of rehabilitation programme,” the department said.

This year, the department also increased levels of consultation with the offenders at previous schools to obtain past reports. This helped with placing offenders in the correct grades.

“Though there are still challenges in other centres, there has been a drastic improvement in dealing with this,” the department said.

The KwaZulu-Natal correctional services department now offers grade 9 in the full-time schooling programme as well as a further education and training (FET) programme for grades 10 to 12.

The department also offers adult basic education and training for prisoners who have been out of the schooling system for a number of years.

The department said it was satisfied with its performance over the past few years but said there was room for improvement.

In 2018, 42 matriculants from uSethubeni sat for their exams, with 37 of them passing. Qalakabusha had 23 matriculants, who all passed. Ekuseni had 11 registered matriculants, with seven passing.

Acting KZN commissioner James Smalberger expressed gratitude to all who were involved in making the 2019 academic year a success and wished the matrics well.

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