IBTE CET equip prison inmates with skills to ease social reintegration

National 2 minutes, 7 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THE Institute of Brunei Technical Education’s Continuing Education Training (IBTE CET) division is currently providing O level courses for the country’s prison inmates to make their reintegration into society easier, according to the head of skills training unit.

In an interview with The Brunei Times, Sophan Afandi said that most prison inmates have not completed their studies as most of them had only studied until Year Nine or Year Eleven.

Despite this, however, there are a number of inmates who have expressed the desire to continue their studies, as a way for them to start a new life after prison by having qualifications that makes it easier for them to get employment.

“We started this programme last year and for those (prison inmates) who have joined the programme, we advised them to sit for the O level course for two years before trying to take the exams in order for them to be well prepared,” he said.

Sophan said that through this programme, instructors from the CET will visit the respective prisons to conduct the O level classes while the Prisons Department are in charge of providing the facilities for the classes as well as when they take the exams.

He said that the first batch of individuals will sit for their first O level exams this year and he hoped that they were well prepared to achieve good results, adding that the world outside of prison is often unkind, or at least unsympathetic to former inmates.

“What we are attempting with this initiative is to fulfill the nation’s vision to make education accessible to everyone in the country, regardless of their status and their background,” he said.

Though Sophan was unable to reveal the number of inmates currently enrolled in the programme, he said that a “good number” of them have enrolled, with some also joining the CET’s various community based short skills courses.

“We hope that when these inmates get out of prison, they would easily find a job with their O level results even if it’s one or two ‘O’s (and) if that does not happen, those who have gone through our short skills courses can start a small business to sustain themselves,” he said.

“The society itself should play its part too by removing the stigma attached to former inmates because we as a society should not shun anyone regardless of their history (and) at the very least, they deserve a second chance to build a new life,” he added.

The Brunei Times