Bound by chains, freed by education.
Officials of Dhanbad divisional jail on Friday said they would once again conduct matriculation and Plus Two examinations, under the National Institute of Open School (NIOS), from this year. The NIOS exams inside the jail had last been held two years ago with murder convict Rocky Dutta then acing the matriculation exam by scoring 71 per cent marks.
According to jail officials, the registrations for the examinations this year, scheduled to be held in October, had already begun with documents of all interested candidates being scrutinised currently.
Speaking to The Telegraph on Friday, jailor Satyendra Chaudhary said the prison had not been able the conduct the exams as they had not received any funds from the state.
“The jail covers the examination and other related expenditure of all the candidates sitting for the NIOS exams. The average expenditure usually works out to around Rs 2000 per prisoner,” Chaudhary said.
Apart from this, Chaudhary said the jail also provided stationery and other sundry articles to the examinees from its prisoner welfare fund.
“O.P. Sharma, jail education project in-charge of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, will provide coaching to the prisoners,” the jailor added. The jail official also claimed that they would mostly clear those candidates to sit for the examination this year who are serving longer sentences.
“There are no security issues. The jail has been designated as a centre. Hence, the prisoners do not need to venture out. Jail superintendent S.C. Jha will be examination controller,” Chaudhary said
According to jail education project in-charge Sharma, all the 24 male wards and one female ward had been informed about the NIOS examinations and interested candidates asked to submit an application.
“We are currently scrutinising all the applications. For the matriculation examination we will only clear those candidates who have at least passed the eighth standard. For the Plus Two examinations the candidates need to submit their Class X pass and school leaving certificates,” Sharma said.
Once the candidates are selected they would be subjected to an interview during which the jail authorities will try and figure out their interest in taking the tests and their academic potential. Only the best of the lot would be cleared for sitting in the exams.
“We expect at least 30 undertrials to appear for the exam this year. In 2010, 25 candidates appeared for exam of which only 14 could clear it. Of them, 11 secured first division marks,” Sharma said.