By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
The Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS), has won the 2018 UNESCO/Confucius Prize for Literacy, beating 70 other entries from across the world to clinch the coveted prize.
At a ceremony recently in Paris, France, the service was awarded a $20, 000 cash prize, medals and a diploma as well as accorded an opportunity to visit China, the birthplace of the Chinese Educationist and Philosopher, Confucius.
While handing over the awards to the Minister of Interior, Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau at a brief ceremony in Abuja Thursday, Controller General of Prisons, Ahmed Ja’afaru noted that the service currently has no fewer than 465 inmates studying undergraduate courses at the National Open University of Nigeria NOUN while many others have begun their post graduate programmes.
He listed several international awards that the service had won this year alone, saying; “These prizes are made possible by the Prisons Service in terms of providing educational services. As we speak today, we have over 465 inmates in various disciplines, 23 are doing their post graduate degrees. We also have an active collaboration with the College of Education, Yelwa where we have also graduated scores of inmates. We blend formal education with skills acquisition and we hope that this will be a model for this country so that the country’s university graduates can be self employed upon graduation. We have aftercare services where we equip all the inmates that have been discharged and I am happy that they doing well and have left the lives of crime”, he said.
Dambazau on his part urged stakeholders to scale up their assistance to prison inmates to cover their resettlement and reintegration into the society upon their release.
NOUN Vice Chancellor, Prof. Abdalla Uba Adamu on his part called for more support in order for the university to continue to sustain the tuition-free educational programmes being enjoyed by inmates, adding that the university has structured its assistance to the inmates in a way that they can now pursue their educational dreams up to postdoctoral level and at no cost.