MKU Extends Student Hunting To Prisons, Designs Courses For Inmates
Mount Kenya University (MKU) has distributed tablets fed with offline content to aid learning of inmates at Naivasha Maximum Security Prison as part of an ongoing partnership between the university and the Prisons Department.
The project is part of a study to determine the ‘Effectiveness of Offline Study Desk on Prison Education’. It is implemented through MKU, Kenya Prisons Service and the Kenya National Commission for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The National Research Fund is the sponsor of the project.
Speaking at the Prisons Headquarters in Nairobi, MKU Vice Chancellor Deogratius Jaganyi said the project seeks to empower convicts by giving them skills that will be useful to them once they reintegrate back into the community after serving their sentences.
He added that the tablets contain interactive Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematiċs (STEM) subjects materials and science virtual labs for use in the training of inmates in six maximum prisons in Kenya.
The tablets will also be used for offline teaching where the inmate-students will access learning materials in an internet free environment technology via Mr. Signal technology.
The research project will be carried out in the six maximum prisons: Naivasha, Nyeri, Langata Women, Kisumu, Kamiti and Shimo la Tewa maximum prisons. It targets to evaluate the effectiveness of ICT in delivery of prison education without the use of the internet.
The correctional facilities in Kenya use education as a rehabilitation tool but do not have trained teachers to handle inmate learners.
The project was borne due to inadequate learning resources in prisons, lack of qualified faculty to teach and the fact that internet use isn’t permitted in prisons for security reasons. The prison project is one of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activity areas of MKU’s School of Education.
Over the last two years, the faculty has been inducting inmates who act as teachers to fellow inmates on the capacity to plan, initiate, lead and develop education and teaching skills. The CSR aims at equipping inmate teachers with skills on how to be better teachers.
MKU has a vibrant CSR policy that forms one arm of the tripartite focus areas of the institution, the other two being teaching and research.