Country Showcase 2: Lifelong Learning For Prison Inmates

Plenary Hall, KLCC, 29 November: This unique programme began in April 2008 following an agreement between OUM and the Malaysian Prison Department to enable prison inmates to enrol in OUM programmes.

Beginning with 10 inmates, there are now a total of 45 prison learners. Four of them have since graduated.

The showcase depicted the difficulties faced by learners when studying behind bars due to the limited access to learning resources.

Dr Jeannot Abdul Karim, Director of OUM Bangi Learning Centre who oversees the prison programme, lamented the difficulties faced by lecturers when teaching prison learners. “We are not allowed to bring hand phones and visual aid materials in class. Also, the three-hour duration for each study session is too long for learners to remain focused.”

According to Deputy Commissioner of Prisons of the Malaysian Prisons Department, Kausalya Devi Sathoo, there was a need for inmates to acquire university qualification as studies have shown a link between prisoner’s education level and post-release employment.

Prior to the prison inmates’ programme, some non-government organisations (NGOs) volunteered to teach the inmates. Kausalya applauded OUM for its efforts in reaching out to the underserved and helping the Malaysian Prisons Department fulfil its goals of giving the right of education to young offenders.

She said the programme has a good impact on recidivism, proving that education can deter criminal recidivism and upgrade the quality of life of inmates upon their release from prison.