BEYOND just alternative learning systems, the Davao City Jail will be providing college education behind bars in a program to be launched within the next two months. The program is initiated by a Dabawenya lawyer and the president of a Texas-based non-government organization (NGO) that has been providing scholarship to indigenous peoples in Davao. The College Behind Bars, the artists perspective of which was shared over social media, was conceived by Dr. Alland Mizell, President of Social Entrepreneurship Technology Business Institute Foundation Inc., in 2016 with his vice president lawyer Susan Cariaga.
Mizell is also president of Minority Care International, an NGO based in Texas, United States of America, which has been sponsoring college scholarships among indigenous peoples for ten years now in Davao, and has sent around ten students on a student exchange scholarship programs to Texas A&M University. "Finishing na building.
We will go to choosing the students over the next two months. Classes start next semester ng University of Southeastern Philippines (Usep), which is August yata," Cariaga said through personal message. "Choosing the students and finalizing curriculum. Formal Launch of program will be sometime in late May or early June 2017," she added. "Students will be inmates of city jail main, city jail annex and the women part." Funding for the college will be provided by the Social Entrepreneurship Institute (SEI), which will build and furnish the classrooms at the Ma-a City Jail. This will be the pilot project of SEI in the Philippines, which intends to replicate the project nationwide once the city jail prototype gets going. Mizell and Cariaga has partnered with the Usep to design the program for this.
The inmates will be enrolled with Usep. "Inmate students will read the same university-assigned textbooks and complete the equivalent college level assignments as the 'outside' college students, and when they graduate, they will receive a diploma from the Usep," the press release sent by Cariaga read.
The Usep teachers will travel to the Ma-a Jail to teach courses there, instead of on the university’s campus. The inmates will be like any Usep student, which means, they have to be assessed and screened for basic literacy and readiness for college using assessment tools like the Test of Adult Basic Education to determine their grades level, vocational assessments needs, length of sentence, security clearance, among other. Inmates will sign the agreement to enroll in a course and be monitored for being on their best behavior at all times.
The SEI will be collaborating with Usep to plan out the college degree and curriculum to be offered. The program will offer several components—basic education, vocational training, life skills development, and substance abuse intervention with weekly sessions of celebrate recovery steps. Those enrolled will have to sign a contract that commits good behavior among others. "After a semester of ongoing evaluation, courses in entrepreneurship, languages, computers skills, health care, agriculture, and critical thinking, anger management, and the General Educational Equivalence Diploma will be added. Open learning and distance learning will be integrated into the educational program," SEI said. To reduce recidivism once an inmate is released from prison, SEI will establish a probation period and will maintain contact with the inmate to link them up with establishments and agencies and facilitate their reentry into society.
There are penalties set out for violations of the contract. The memorandum of agreement for college behind bars was signed by Dr. Mizell, lawyer Cariaga, Usep President Dr. Lourdes Generalao, and the Chief of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology Dir. Serafin Petronio Barretto Jr., CESO IV for a Program on Prison Rehabilitation and College Education behind Bars last September 28, 2016, at the House of Representatives. Congresswoman Mylene Garcia Albano of the Second District of Davao City, and lawyer Lily Freida Milla, Davao City Jail Warden Superintendent Grace Taculin and Assistant Warden Senior Inspector Roberto Gotico witnessed the signing in Quezon City.
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SOURCE: YOUTUBE, SUNSTAR