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Kolkata correctional home inmates happy to be in school after gap

The students in attendance were either undertrials or convicts of different criminal cases

Kinsuk Basu | Published 17.11.21, 07:06 AM
Presidency Correctional Home.

Presidency Correctional Home.

File photo

The reopening of schools on Tuesday saw at least 15 inmates of the Presidency Correctional Home in south Kolkata’s Alipore resume their classes physically inside the prison and around 10 graduation students, revisit their classrooms with text books, pens and exercise books, a sight that has been missing since over a year-and-a-half.

The students in attendance were either undertrials or convicts of different criminal cases.

The teachers of both the school and the college too are either convicts or under trials who possess adequate educational qualifications and have volunteered to impart knowledge to the inmates.

While the school is affiliated to the National School of Open Schooling, the college is under the Indira Gandhi National Open University.

Nearly half of 52 correctional homes across Bengal have schools for inmates as well as facilities for some to pursue graduation and post graduation courses through distance learning and correspondence courses. The authorities arrange for books, study materials and necessary coaching facilities utilising funds allocated under West Bengal Prisoners’ Welfare Fund.

At the Presidency Correctional Home, the school is located right in the middle of the sprawling compound beside the recreational club where students turn up in their informal attire, some in their slippers and others even in sneakers. There is a separate set of teachers for secondary and higher secondary levels. The college comprises a huge hall with rows of desks and benches for students. Teachers have a chair and a table along with a blackboard at their disposal.       

“Students of Classes IX and XI resumed their classes on Tuesday in phases. The youngest student is around 25  years and the oldest, 60 years,” said a senior official.

The classes were held over two sessions — between 11 am and 1 pm and between 3 pm and 5 pm. Students in attendance had masks on them and senior officials said the excitement of returning to the classrooms was palpable on their faces. As the classes resumed, a team of senior officials of the correctional home led by Debasish Chakrabarty, the superintendent, toured the school to ensure Covid norms were being maintained.

Among those attending graduation classes on Tuesday was Bapi Mudi, the Maoist considered to be one of the possible successors of the slain leader Kishenji. Following a joint raid by the Special Task Force and the Greyhounds of Andhra Pradesh in 2012,

Mudi was arrested from Belgharia.

“It was wonderful to find the students spending time with books,” the official said.

Last updated on 17.11.21, 08:55 PM
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