ISLAMABAD: The Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) has finalised plan for upgrading educational facilities in jails throughout the country. The university will ensure provision of free of cost books, various relevant forms and prospectuses, and management of classes at jail premises.
The plan will be implemented in collaboration with jail authorities with assistance from the Federal Ombudsman.
“The programme existed but had been dormant [for sometime] as currently only 240 prisoners are enrolled in different disciplines and grades,” the AIOU Vice-Chancellor, Dr Shahid Siddiqui told The Express Tribune on Thursday adding that the plan was a part of jail reforms being pursued under the directions of the Supreme Court.
The vice chancellor said that the plan was aimed at helping prisoners get an education so as to enable them become useful citizens of the state.
A transparent and viable procedure has been worked out for provision of educational facilities to the prisoners, he said.
“The AIOU has forwarded a pro forma to all the jails in the country, which account to over 90, and will get their feedback about enrolment, teaching [facilities] etc,” Siddiqui remarked.
He said that the pro forma would enable the university evaluate the qualification criteria of inmates and finalise tutors.
“The examinations and classes will be held inside the jails,” the vice-chancellor said.
“Teachers from among the inmates will be nominated, who will act as assistant to coordinator and will also be paid remunerations,” he said.
The university has planned to impart education from matriculation to bachelors level.
The vice-chancellor said that he personally visited major jails in Quetta, Lahore, and Rawalpindi, and would be visiting Central Jail, Peshawar next.
“I have written to all the inspectors general of prisons of all the provinces, and we will keep the superintendents of jail in the loop too,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 23rd, 2015.