Cape Town: The best performing inmates in the 2014 National Senior Certificate examinations say they plan to use their grade 12 qualifications to turn over a new leaf.
Justice and Correctional Services Minister Advocate Michael Masutha introduced the top two achievers from the class of 2014 inmates, who wrote their grade 12 examinations late last year.
Speaking to SAnews after the announcement of the results, Sibonelo Maphumulo, 22, who studied at the Usethubeni Youth Centre in Durban, said the matric qualification had contributed to his rehabilitation process.
“Enrolling for grade 12 has really helped me a lot because before I was arrested, I was not interested in school.
“But after I was apprehended, I realised that school is very important so I have to be committed and patient and do whatever it takes to build my life,” he said.
Maphumulo was sentenced to eight years in 2012 after he was convicted of rape.
As a juvenile, Maphumulo enrolled to do grade 11 at the Usethubeni Youth Centre two years ago.
In last year’s exam, he obtained an A symbol in Life Orientation, B in IsiZulu, C symbols in English, Economics, Accounting and Biological Studies and a D in Mathematics.
He now has his sights on furthering his studies and hopes his family will support him financially to register to study towards his tertiary qualification.
Another inmate, Njabulo Gumede, 22, also from the same centre, was incarcerated last year and sentenced to three years in jail for robbery.
Upon his arrival in prison in February last year, he was approached by the Principal of the Usethubeni Youth Centre, Dominic Zulu, to enrol to complete his matric, and he did.
Gumede passed his exams with a distinction in Life Orientation, four Bs in IsiZulu, English, Biological Studies and Economics, a C in Accounting and 45% in Mathematics.
“I saw that sitting in jail without doing anything is not productive. I don’t want to wait for three years without doing anything. I would rather go to school.
“I didn’t think that I would get a second chance to go to school and when I came to prison, I did programmes like restorative anger management and those programmes renewed me,” he said.
He hopes to get a sponsor to fund his studies to fulfil his dream of becoming an accountant one day.
Gumede said he was happy to have been given a second chance to finish his matric, and encouraged other inmates to strive for education.
“When you are sentenced, you have to go to school because you can’t spend all your time doing nothing. You have to go to school and you won’t regret that decision. You are going to be happy and even your parents outside will be happy.
“When you eventually get a chance to go outside, you are going to live a life with other people.
“If you are educated and have matric, it is going to be simpler,” he said.
The pass rate among inmates increased from 58.8% in 2013 to 68.9% in 2014.
SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS