Prisoners of the Nagpur Central Jail in Maharashtra who have taken up academic courses will now get their queries answered by teachers through a new inclusive radio counselling facility started for them.
The ‘mediated phone-in radio counselling’, launched by the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) here on Tuesday, will help prisoners in their academic studies without compromising the jail’s security, IGNOU’s regional director P Sivaswaroop said.
The ‘virtual classroom’ facility was inaugurated by Deputy Inspector General, Prisons (eastern region), Yogesh Desai and Sivaswaroop at IGNOU’s Gyan Vani radio channel studio here.
Prisoners’ education is a universally accepted principle to bring a change in their behaviour, make them academically strong, and to help them stand on their feet after release from jail, Sivaswaroop said.
While IGNOU has been offering various academic courses, this student-teacher interactive call back facility was not available for prisoners as they do not have access to phones in jail, he said.
“To circumvent this difficulty, an innovative method has been adopted by IGNOU here. Prisoners will now listen to lessons imparted by teachers on the FM radio channel. They will write their doubts/queries on a paper and give it to the IGNOU’s jail coordinator,” he said.
The coordinator will immediately call the Gyan Vani studio from the jail office phone and read out the prisoner’s queries. The teacher in the studio will then provide answers on the radio channel, Sivaswaroop said.
Desai claimed that the ‘phone-in education’ programme was being started for the first time in the Nagpur Central Jail where several prisoners were pursuing academic courses offered by IGNOU.
With this facility, there will be a “two-way communication” which will be quite beneficial to prisoners who want to study, he said.
“The initiative will also be helpful in correcting and rehabilitating them,” he said.
Shyam Koreti, IGNOU’s coordinator and associate professor of history at the Nagpur University, who was part of the phone-in counselling session launched on Tuesday, said they received six to seven queries from prisoners.
He appreciated their interest in pursuing education despite being in jail.