In a bid to rehabilitate inmates through education, Stellenbosch University and the Department of Correctional Services have partnered to offer the Ubuntu Learning Short Course.
The initiative which was piloted at the Brandvlei prison near Worcester brought together 15 prisoners and 15 Stellenbosch University students for three-hour classes once a week.
All students received competence certificates accredited by the university on Tuesday.
Speaking to Refilwe Moloto, Ubuntu Learning Short Course academic director, Dr Mary Nel says international initiatives inspired her to start the programme.
We decided to have an interdisciplinary course and the reason for that is that we wanted everybody to start on the same footing.— Dr Mary Nel, Academic director - Ubuntu Learning Short Course
I didn't want experts in the class, I wanted everyone to contribute.— Dr Mary Nel, Academic director - Ubuntu Learning Short Course
Nel says they had to get all the necessary permission from the prison management to proceed with the programme.
It is like any other classroom but more interactive, she adds.
The potential of people that are behind bars is incredible. I wasn't doing it for people behind bars only, I was doing it for my students and myself as well. We were all learning.— Dr Mary Nel, Academic director - Ubuntu Learning Short Course
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This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Prisoners and university students partner to graduate from pilot course