Selma Ikela Windhoek-Inmates at Namibia’s correctional facilities are transforming their lives as they prepare for re-entry into society, with a number of inmates obtaining degrees – including masters’ degrees - and other qualifications that would allow them to find meaningful employment upon release. The acting head of education at the Windhoek Correctional Facility, Superintendent Theofillus Kadhimo, told New Era that one of their success stories is an offender who completed his master’s degree in business administration through Unisa in 2015. The offender landed himself a job after he completed his sentence. Among offenders who obtained a tertiary qualification is Morris Sibitwani, 39, who graduated with a diploma in accounting and auditing from the University of Namibia. He aims to become a chartered accountant. Sibitwani was sentenced to 30 years for murdering his girlfriend. He has already served 15 years. “The time I was outside I struggled getting employment. After I am released I will be integrated into the community and fit in, that’s why I decided to study. I considered what to study because I don’t want to struggle getting employment when I’m released,” said the former long-distance bus driver. During a New Era visit to the facility, Kadhimo said a total of 819 offenders were enrolled in various programmes with universities, Namcol Grade 10 and 12 and literacy programmes. The facility also has a workshop that offers vocational training in areas such motor mechanics, tailoring and electricals. Kadhimo said literacy is taught at the facility by education officers and some offenders who are undergoing training. However, Kadhimo pointed out that it is a challenge when offenders apply for bursaries, especially for tertiary students, as companies are not aware that there is education taking place at the facility. Kadhimo says the correctional facilities are not merely a lock-up for convicts but are places where convicts are rehabilitated into productive members of society. “We do not just lock them up but rehabilitate them to go back into society – with acquired skills to be civilised and make the right decisions. They also rehabilitate themselves through education,” said Kadhimo. He explained that the number of prospective students started picking up in 2015 through sensitizing offenders. “We go into the units and sensitize them about education and the programmes offered. We liaise with institutions and companies for funding, which come here and do presentations at the facility.” He added that the facility is a registered examination centre where offenders sit and write examinations and are invigilated by an education officer. He said some Namcol students are sponsored by the Namibian Literacy Trust while some themselves pay for their studies. For tertiary students, they either pay for themselves through support of relatives or are funded by the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF).
2018-01-30 08:56:29 7 months ago