Twenty-two male and female inmates of the New Amsterdam Prison graduated last Tuesday from a three-month Literacy and Numeracy class which was held at the Prison Sports Club at Penitentiary Walk New Amsterdam.
In all, 18 females and four males graduated.
According to Literacy Officer of the Guyana Prison, Orlando Jaundoo, 39 prisoners started the programme with 22 completing.
He said that the participants were selected from among those with good character and with less than three years remaining in the prison system. Being a literacy and numeracy programme, the participants were also those who had difficulty with reading and counting.
Jaundoo said that the programme commenced on September 6 and concluded with the Graduation ceremony. He said that that some improvements were seen and a number of the inmates can now read and write.
The course-work was taken from the Ministry of Education Workbook Literacy Fast Track Module One.
The officer stated that module two is slated to begin in January and most of those who participated in the first phase and are still a part of the prison system are expected to participate.
Also speaking at the ceremony was Superintendent of Prisons Alstan Scott. Mr. Scott, who took over command of the New Amsterdam Prison two weeks ago, urged the prisoners to take whatever they had learnt and put it into good use.
He stated that it will be noted if learning had taken place from how the inmates operate and behave from now on.
“Seeing that you can now read and write you should make better use of your time,” he urged.
“Behavioural change should take place, when you used to sit and idle, you should now aspire to read a book or go to the library”.
He thanked the government and other agencies and institutions that have contributed to making these programmes available to the inmates, with the aim of enabling them to have useful lives when they are re-integrated into society.
Miss Enid Etwaru, a retired headmistress who is the Regional Literacy coordinator gave the feature address.
She stated that the inmates have made the right decision. She told them that learning never stops and they should grasp at every opportunity presented in their favour.
“Yesterday is gone. Look at the future…turn a new page. Do not use the law of the jungle.”
She ended by urging them to let laughter, cheer, joy and happiness be their guide.
Also speaking at the ceremony was officer in charge of the female prison Christine George. The welcome address was given by Chief Prison Office Rose Charles.
Two inmates chaired the programme and gave the vote of thanks respectively. The programme included a number of cultural items.
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