Virtual labs projects to equip inmates

Thursday, August 19th, 2021 00:00 |
Prisons boss Wycliffe Ogallo.

Prisoners intending to sit Form Four examinations will access virtual laboratories in six prisons across the country.

The project dubbed “Effectiveness of Offline Study Desk Prison Education” and funded by the National Research Fund will ensure that inmates access laboratories that contain interactive animated instructions and procedures for carrying out virtual experiments.

“The tablets are also loaded with revision materials which are also animated,” the Prisons boss Wycliffe Ogallo said.

Tripartite collaboration

The concept has offline interactive and animated materials of secondary school subjects including mathematics, Biology, Chemistry and Physics. There are also virtual laboratories for Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

The project is a tripartite collaboration between prisons, Mount Kenya University and the Kenya National Commission for Unesco.

The research project will be carried out in the six maximum prisons of Naivasha, Nyeri, Langata Women, Kisumu, Kamiti and Shimo la Tewa.

Ogallo said the project is part of the rehabilitation programmes, adding that without proper rehabilitation, the prisoners risked getting caught up in vicious cycle of re-offending, reconviction and social rejection.

“The last phase of the project will entail training of the inmate teachers, who scored C+ and above.

Recidivism will reduce and once released, the inmates will be engaged productively in the society,” Ogallo said.

According to the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules), the provision of meaningful rehabilitation programmes is crucial in reducing recidivism and to improve public safety.

The project was due to the fact that though correctional facilities in Kenya use education as a rehabilitation tool, they do not have trained teachers to handle inmate learner and instead use the untrained inmates to teach their fellow inmates.

Other reasons include inadequate learning resources in the prison and the fact that access to internet is not permitted in the prison for security reasons.

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