“With the 2013 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations commencing today (Monday, 28 October), we want to wish inmates writing their Grade 12 examinations every success in their efforts to empower, and improve, their lives. Prisons are now correctional centres of rehabilitation. Offenders are given new hope, and encouragement, to adopt a lifestyle that will result in a second chance towards becoming ideal citizens. The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) is going all out to make sure that inmates can be productive citizens upon release. At least 95% of those incarcerated will return to society after serving their sentence. Offenders must return as better, changed and law-abiding citizens. We are turning our correctional centres into centres of learning. Offenders must read, study and work. We must impact the hearts, heads and hands of offenders so that, upon release, they are in possession of, at least, a certificate in one hand and a skill in the other hand.
“Last year (2012) in the NSC examinations, inmates achieved a 79,25% pass rate compared to 68,06% in 2011. The best performing inmate was Chris Phumulani Mazibuko, from Usethubeni Youth School, who achieved five distinctions in IsiZulu Home Language, English first Additional language, Life Orientation, Business Studies and Economics. The best performing Correctional Centre School was Johannesburg Correctional Centre School which achieved a 94,11% pass rate, followed by Usethubeni Youth School (Westville, KwaZulu-Natal) which achieved a 81,48% pass rate and Emthonjeni Combined School (Gauteng Region) which achieved a 66,66% pass rate.
“We also want to wish those inmates studying towards other qualifications well in their exams. As of this year (2013), it is compulsory for every inmate to complete Adult Education and Training (AET) level 1 to 4. Since April, more than 11,600 inmates are participating in AET programmes in correctional centres across the country. Last financial year (2012/13), 1,049 offenders studied towards post-matric/higher education and training qualifications, 3,525 towards further education and training (FET) college programmes (including electrical engineering, civil engineering, mechanical engineering and marketing) and 4,188 towards skills development programmes (including basic business skills training and entrepreneurship).
From November 2012 to April 2013, 5,215 offenders were trained on agriculture, business, construction, food services, computers, textile, carpentry, beauty and nail technology, welding and electrical-related programmes. Other programmes completed by offenders included the National Certificate (Vocational), Engineering Studies N6, Business Studies N6 and Artisan Development. Last year, R66,424 million was allocated for training offenders including scarce skills such as welding, plumbing, bricklaying, plastering, electrical, carpentry and agricultural skills programmes. In May 2012, 416 youth offenders graduated with their International Computer Driver Licence (ICDL) certificates,” Minister Ndebele said.