Higher education eludes central jail inmates

2014-04-05

Himalayan News Service

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With the phasing out of intermediate level from the Tribhuvan University (TU), dozens of students serving their terms in central jail have been deprived of higher education.

Every year more than 40 inmates of the central jail pass SLC exams, but their study ends there as the Higher Secondary Education Board (HSEB) does not entertain private students.

“Inmates cannot attend classes and +2s hesitate to admit inmates fearing that may bring disrepute to their institutions,” Principal of Jagannath High School Ramhari Lamsal at the central jail said, adding, “This has deprived dozens of students of the opportunity to acquire higher education.” The school management committee has also requested jail administration to get HSEB permission to run higher secondary level in prison.

“Everyone gives us hollow assurances,” he added. Lamsal said he has urged the policy makers, who at least once served terms in central jail in the past, for assistance, but no help seems forthcoming.

According to him, Home Minister Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar was the headmaster in the prison school in the past. UML leader Bhim Rawal also taught inmates. Maoist leader Dev Gurung and CPN (Maoist) Chairman Matrika Yadav completed their Master´s Degree from the central jail.

“Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai has also served a term in central jail,” he said. “It is sad through that he is least concerned about prisoners´ education.” Lamsal claimed that educated inmates generally do not return to crime.

The school management committee said the prison school does not have enough funds for acquiring permission to run higher secondary education. “Neither do we have the required infrastructure. Despite the odds, we are trying our best to acquire permission to run +2,” said Tirtharaj Bhattarai, chairman of the school management committee.

Bhattarai, who is also the jailer at central prison, said district education officer is also positive about running +2 classes in prison. “I have also requested officials of the education ministry. They have assured us of assistance,” he added. Bhattarai hoped the prison school would get permission to run higher secondary level before the next academic session begins.

Meanwhile, Lamsal said the School would run classes in three shifts if they get permission to run +2. The school is running in two shifts as the prison school has limited rooms. Primary level classes start from 5:30 in the morning, while lower secondary and secondary level from 5:30 pm. The evening shift lasts up to 9:30 pm.

Highly educated people, including doctors, pilots, and lawyers are serving terms in the central jail. “We will not have shortage of teachers in the prison,” Lamsal said.

(Source: Republica Nepal, Written for Republica National Daily by Arjun Poudel)