Mount Kenya University (MKU) has distributed tablets fed with offline content to aid learning of inmates at Naivasha Maximum Security Prison.
This is as part of an ongoing partnership between the University and the Prisons Department.
The project funded by the National Research Fund is part of a study to determine ‘Effectiveness of Offline Study Desk on Prison Education’ and it is implemented through MKU, the National Research Fund, Kenya Prisons Service and the Kenya National Commission for Unesco.
Speaking at the Prisons Headquarters in Nairobi, MKU Vice Chancellor Deogratius Jaganyi said the project seeks to empower convicts with skills that will be useful to them once they re-integrate with the community after serving their sentence. “By the time they get back to their communities, the inmates will be more empowered and the chances of relapsing into crime will be reduce,”
Prof Jaganyi said the tablets handed over contain interactive STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects material and Science Virtual labs for use in training inmates in six maximum prisons in Kenya.
In addition, the tablets will be used for offline teaching where the inmate-students will access learning materials in an internet free environment technology via Signal technology.
“This is a fast and revolutionary use of ICT in Prison education. The project uses education to reduce recidivism and empower the inmates,” he added.
The research project will be carried out in the six maximum prisons in Kenya namely: 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 learner; they use the untrained inmates to teach their fellow inmates.
The development of the current solution was borne out of a number of challenges. This includes inadequate learning resources in prisons, lack of qualified faculty to teach (except the few prison education officers who manage the education programme) coupled with the fact that access to the internet is not permitted in the prison for obvious security reasons.
The prison project is one of the Corporate Social Responsibility activity undertaken by the MKU’s School of Education where, for 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.
In the prison facility, there are inmates who are at primary school level, secondary school level and those who have completed secondary school education.