Singapore Prison School Achieving Outstanding Results
Singapore’s only prison school has seen a rising number of inmates interested in furthering their studies and receiving a quality education.
In 2015, the prison saw 239 inmates, a record number, sitting exams such as the GCE ‘N’, ‘O’ and ‘A’ Levels.
Not only is there a greater interest in education than previously seen in the prison system but a large portion of the students are outperforming thiry previous exam scores. The inmates are looking to create new lives for themselves on the outside, and they obviously see education and employability as important skills.
One prison student believes that receiving an education in prison is more challenging than before and said ”I’ve stopped studying for close to 15 years. When I started reading the textbooks again, all those terms like in physics, biology or maths, all the formulas, all the definitions, all the theories – I have to remember them again.”
Before the inmates are allowed to study, they are assessed on a variety of different factors such as ability, literacy, conduct and the length of their sentence. They must show they are willing to put a focus on learning and rehabilitation.
The school, whose motto is “Rebuilding Lives and Awakening Hope,” follows a curriculum set by the Education Ministry, has enrichment programs and a library. In addition, the school employs experienced and trained teachers.
Tan Cher Chong has been a volunteer teacher at the prison school for the past ten years. He has been helping students to grow and achieve their goals. Chong says that the inmates are among the most studious students he has ever taught, attributing it to the “intrinsic motivation that they have, the urge to do well.”
Former inmate Darren Tan is currently studying for a Bachelor of Law at the National University of Singapore and will graduate this year. He received an exceptional score while behind bars and has achieved his dream of building a better future for himself.