M A I N   N E W S

Pak prisoners may get varsity degrees
Varinder Walia and Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, May 27
Pakistani and Bangladeshi prisoners may secure degrees from an Indian university before their repatriation to their respective countries, with the opening of an education centre by Guru Nanak Dev University in the high-security Central Jail here today.

The university will provide education free of cost to the jail inmates without charging even examination fee.

Dr Kiran Bedi, the first woman IPS, who inaugurated the centre, described the attempt as “unique and socially relevant project”.

“I have not seen any such education centre in a jail during my intensive tour of 36 developed countries,” she said.

Lauding the role of the jail and the university authorities, Dr Bedi announced that Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor of the university, and Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, DIG, Central Jail, would be honoured with India Vision Puraskar in August in recognition of their contribution to educate prisoners.

Earlier, Dr S.P. Singh, said the university had started the centre to educate jail inmates here as a mission so that after completing their sentence, they could become good and useful citizens.

The university has introduced courses in dress designing, tailoring and cutting, fabric designing, computer maintenance and computer basic concepts.

He said the university would also start graduate-level courses at the centre. It would also try to introduce some job-oriented courses like in dairy farming and poultry farming.

Impressed with an excellent kirtan presented by convicts, the Vice-Chancellor said the university might introduce a Gurbani-kirtan course. The university also intended to start a course on folklore.

He said the university would bear the entire expenditure of these courses and would not even charge examination fee.

Dr Bedi said various high courts in their recent pronouncements had suggested launching such programmes in jails.

Besides educational and yoga programmes, she said, inmates would also be apprised of HIV/AIDS under the Sehat Programme.

The Vice-Chancellor honoured Sr Bedi by presenting her a memento and a set of university publications.

Mr H.S. Sidhu, DIG (Jails), Punjab, while presenting a vote of thanks, congratulated the Vice-Chancellor for the centre.

Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh said during the past few months, a number of measures for jail reforms like improving the quality of food, creating sports facilities, and setting up of a yoga centre and a legal cell had been taken for the welfare of the inmates.

The Vice-Chancellor said the university would spend on computers and infrastructure for providing education to the inmates. He said separate faculty would be created for this project.



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