Nsawam Prison inmates benefit from ICT training (Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015)

More than 200 inmates of the Nsawam Prison have benefited from an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) programme being run by the prison.

The Nsawam Prison is among 23 others where the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) is supporting the Ghana Prisons Service (GPS) to equip prisoners with information technology skills.

Currently, 100 inmates are at various stages of their ICT education, which ends with the writing of the National Vocational Training Institute (NVTI) examination.

The convicts are taken through both software and hardware training and they are selected based on their interest in the subject.

Help us
Speaking during a facility tour of the Nsawam Prison, the Director General of the GPS, Ms Matilda Baffour-Awuah, called on corporate organisations and non-governmental organisations to help in efforts towards the integration of prisoners.

“We are giving them a lot of training, but when they leave the prisons it is difficult for them to settle down. We are, therefore, appealing to corporate Ghana and benevolent organisations to come to our aid to provide financial assistance for them or take them on board and provide opportunities for them. It is important that we all support them to reintegrate into society,” she said.

She said the agenda of the service was to give the opportunity to all inmates to at least read and write, so that when they went out they would not be left out of the development of the country.

The  facility visit was to enable GIFEC and the GPS to appraise the ICT programme and its impact on the beneficiaries and also discuss further areas of support.

The prisons connectivity project

The GPS started the ICT education in 2010. It forms part of the GIFEC Prison Connectivity Project, which is one of the interventions of the fund to extend ICT to unserved and under-served communities.

Beneficiaries of the project are the officers of the GPS in general, inmates of the prisons and new recruits into the service.

Vocational skills
The programme runs alongside the traditional courses, including tailoring, carpentry, basket weaving, baking, tie and dye making and soap making.

The Nsawam Prison currently has a prison population of about 4,000.

Ms Baffour-Awuah said apart from vocational training, formal education was high on the agenda of the service.

She said the service intended to commercialise items produced by the inmates to help in sustaining the training programmes in the future.
 
The Head of ICT Training at the Nsawam Prison, DSP Charles C. Clegg, said the pass rate among prisoners who took the examination was 60 per cent, with some of the students passing with distinction.

He, however, said because the prison operated on a meagre budgetary allocation, it could only register a few students at a time to sit for the examination.

He, therefore, appealed to the corporate world and individuals to support the prison to add value to the inmates
.
DSP Clegg said the service was considering registering the inmates studying ICT for the Advanced Business Certificate Examination (ABCE), which is higher than the NVTI. 

The Administrator of GIFEC, Mr Kofi Attor, pledged the continued support of the fund to ensure that inmates were equipped to create opportunities for themselves when they got out of prison.
He urged the GPS to work with the Department of Social Welfare to follow up on how the beneficiaries used the skills acquired outside prison.

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