21 January 2014
Correctional Services Minister Sibusiso Ndebele has called on South Africa’s 243 correctional centres to encourage inmates to participate in educational and skills programmes at the start of the 2014 academic year.
“The Department of Correctional Services is implementing programmes aimed at turning around the lives of those who wronged society so that upon release, they are ideal, productive, law-abiding citizens,” Ndebele said in a statement on Monday. “Inmates must work and study, and leave correctional centres with a skill in one hand and a certificate in the other hand.”
“The hand that was used to harm others must be changed into a hand which now builds and heals. The trilogy of victim-offender-community is central to all rehabilitation.”
The department has increased the number of full-time correctional centre schools from only one in 2009 to 12 in 2013. In 2014, three additional schools – in Rustenburg (North-West province), Boksburg (Gauteng) and Ekuseni (Kwazulu-Natal)- are scheduled for accreditation.
In 2013 the minister announced that, as of 1 April, it would be compulsory for every inmate without a qualification equivalent to Grade 9 to complete Adult Education and Training (AET) from level 1 to 4.
Between April and September 2013, 11 649 inmates registered for AET programmes. From 2010 to 2013, 73 881 inmates participated in educational programmes.
Over the past two years, 559 inmates wrote Grade 9 to 11 examinations, with an average pass rate of 73% in 2013.