Inmates get ready for matric exams

As the 2017 matric examinations loom, inmates at Barberton Management Area are spending sleepless nights preparing for their exams.

This year, 26 offenders will sit for their matric examinations. Eight are from the Youth Correctional Centre and 18 are from Maximum Correctional Centre. The Management Area has two full time schools, which are Umlalati (Barberton Town Youth Centre) and Vuselela (Barberton Maximum).

Last year, Barberton Management Area had 23 candidates who sat for the matric examination, while Umlalati had six candidates. All six wrote and passed, achieving 100% pass rate. Vuselela had 17 candidates. Thirteen passed and four failed, which resulted in 76.47% pass rate. The overall pass rate for Barberton Management Area was 82.06%.

According to Education Manager Thomas Myeni, educators started to prepare for examinations on the first day of the academic year. Inmates also finished their annual teaching plan earlier than anticipated, which gave them enough time to prepare to study and do revisions.

This academic year, our educators worked tirelessly to ensure that the syllabus is entirely covered. We worked extra hours, even during weekends, to make sure that we taught offenders everything we needed to, Myeni said.

The department is pleased with the performance of offenders in their trial examinations.

After analysing trial examination results, there is hope that the results for 2017 will be thrilling and positive, Myeni said.

Environment conducive for learning

The Department of Correctional Services has allocated separate cells to allow inmates to study without any disturbances.

The level of comprehension in our inmates differs, therefore grouping them allows them to share knowledge and strengthen each other where they need help. Our educators are also available during working hours to ensure that offenders receive the necessary support, especially when they have questions, Myeni said.

The offenders also continue to go to school even during recess to make sure that they cover all the aspects of the annual teaching plan.

All the offenders sitting for exams will sign a pledge before the exams as a sign of committing to quality exams.

Equipping inmates with skills for life

Correctional Services has placed education and training at the centre of its rehabilitation to eliminate illiteracy and the absence of critical technical skills and competencies required for employment or self-employment.

Education intervention programmes were strengthened by the introduction of a compulsory education policy in 2012, targeting youth up to the age of 25.

Correctional Services introduced a compulsory education policy to push offenders to join education programmes.

One of the challenges identified include the fact that 35 000 offenders do not even have a grade nine qualification, while over 5 000 were absolutely illiterate – unable to read, write or count.

All examinations will be monitored by officials from the Departments of Higher Education and Basic Education, Umalusi Council for Quality Assurance, the directorates for Formal Education and Skills Development and other external organisations.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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