Hundreds of inmates and prison officers graduated with fundamental skills in Information Technology through an education programme run by Zetech University and the Kenya Prisons Service. The initiative aims to equip learners with relevant computer training for the job market and entrepreneurial world.
A total of 123 graduates from five prisons were awarded certificates by the University at a colourful graduation ceremony held at the Nairobi Remand and Allocation Maximum security prison.
The initiative, which has made huge impact and seen over 600 inmates benefit from the programme, saw 106 inmates and 17 staff members from the Kamiti Maximum, Nairobi West, Kamae Borstal, Langata Women Maximum and the Nairobi Remand and Allocation Security prisons form the graduating class of 2017 after successfully undertaking the training.
Speaking at the graduation, Zetech University Vice Chancellor Prof. John Njenga Munene noted that access to quality education is a fundamental right for all in the society and a significant contributor to the rehabilitation process,
“Today’s ceremony demonstrates the increasing demand for higher education by Kenyans, including our brothers and sisters in correctional centres. Indeed, intellectual endeavour is not a preserve of the rich, the free, but of all citizens, including the less advantaged, marginalised and those in prisons.” Prof. Munene said, adding, “As Zetech University, we believe in the future of this country and trust that the beneficiaries will use skills gained to contribute to the development of the country.”
Prof. Munene added that with the notable success of the programme, the University is keen on introducing progressive courses to enable beneficiaries to study other courses relevant for different markets.
Representing the Kenya Prisons Service, Nairobi Deputy Regional Commander of Prisons Madam Olivia Obel observed that the initiative has greatly impacted the lives of inmates and staff because of the practicability of the course,
“We appreciate the commitment shown by Zetech University in ensuring our community is well trained in matters education. The training in IT serves to adequately equip a significant population of learners with necessary skills that are useful for any professional setting and we are eager to see the institution offer courses in Diploma and even Degree levels.” She said.
Corporal David Onjera who has benefited from the programme and now tutors other trainees shared that the training is transformational and has enabled officers to work more efficiently, “The training upgrades one’s skills and has had a positive impact on the prison community as a whole.” On his part, Boniface Omuhunya appreciated the University and Prisons administration for the opportunity he believes has empowered him and his fellow inmates to learn and understand concepts in IT.
The ceremony also saw the inmates present entertaining items in the area of dance, comedy and acrobatics portraying the power of social development and talent identification programmes in correctional facilities.