EDITORIAL| Education is Freedom

LAST Wednesday, the students of the College Behind Bars, the first school inside a jail facility in the country, conducted a program that gathered students taking the Alternative Learning System classes and the courses offered by TESDA.

Aland Mizell, the Social Entrepreneurship Institute president, said that this educational facility was a product of determination and sheer will, quoting Nelson Mandela: “No one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails.” He said “it is very difficult to believe that what was once dreamt is being fulfilled now. The idea of putting College Education Behind Bars incorporated with the recovery program is so inspiring: what was once planted as a sapling is now all grown into a large tree.”

We listened to the voices of the students, the recipients of the dream, who wrote their thoughts through an essay. We take the liberty of reprinting the essay that won first prize:

“Education is freedom in the sense that it cannot be caged. Thoughts and ideas cannot be caged. I believe it will liberate us from ignorance and help decrease, if not stop the cycle of criminality.

“I observed that most of the inmates here at the Davao City Jail have not finished their studies or have not received or have no educational attainment, at all. That is where education behind bars come in. It will help inmates who are enrolled in the program to better themselves, to train them for job, interview and social skills that are needed survive in society.

“Education is the key to put to a halt or minimize recidivism rate of inmates. This also gives us an opportunity to redeem ourselves and to give justice to the people who are helping us while we are being incarcerated. To stop the ‘lock them up and throw away the key” mentality because it is we, the people, who are inside jails who mostly need education because we will be the one that can break the shackles that binds and the cells that divide us.

“I want to express my gratitude to the saints that fought against all odds to push through with the “Education Behind Bars” program. Without them, we would still be doing nothing with our lives. They are the ones who continually give us hope, give us a second chance, and see past our criminal records.

“This proves to me that my past failures are not fatal.”

Posted in Opinion