Pretoria: Correctional Services Minister Sibusiso Ndebele has challenged inmates writing their Grade 12 examinations to achieve a 100% pass rate.
“With the 2012 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations commencing on Monday, we want to wish our inmates writing their Grade 12 examinations every success in their efforts to empower and improve, their lives,” Ndebele said.
About 1 873 offenders are currently studying towards Grade 12.
For the past six years, Correctional Centre schools such as Usethubeni Youth School at Westville in Durban have been achieving an above 90% average matric pass rate.
“We are looking forward to a 100% matric pass rate. We also want to wish those inmates studying towards other qualifications well in their exams,” Ndebele said.
About 1 049 offenders are studying towards post-matric/higher education and training qualifications, 4 042 towards further education and training (FET) college programmes (including electrical engineering, civil engineering, mechanical engineering and marketing) and 3 853 towards skills development programmes (including basic business skills training and entrepreneurship).
“From next year (2013), it will be compulsory for every inmate to complete ABET level 1 to 4. We are working towards turning our prisons into schools, and we want offenders to read… study… and work…”
Ndebele said key to rehabilitation was empowering offenders to have skills to function effectively in society on their release but, equally important, was to ensure that offenders were actively involved in productive activity while they serve their sentences.
“We want to see offenders proudly contributing to their self-care. As government, we remain fully committed to our shared vision of a caring and just society enjoining us to afford even those who err against society the opportunity to correct and mend their ways under humane conditions.
“We must go all out to rehabilitate and create conditions for those seriously seeking opportunities for change in their lives to access them,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, Ndebele will deliver the keynote address at South Africa’s first National Offender Jazz Festival to be held in Bloemfontein tomorrow as part of rehabilitation through the arts.
Approximately 200 inmates from Correctional Centres across the country will participate in the festival.