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Prison Education Uganda

The prison education system evolved out of what is known as the welfare and rehabilitation division, under the directorate of Correctional Services in 1974. Headed by an assistant commissioner, this division is overseen by the department of Rehabilitation Services. It was developed to rehabilitate and resettle inmates through diverse interventions.

Today, there are 15 prison formal education units across the country, although plans are underway to establish more. The schools are Luzira Upper, Murchison bay prison, Luzira women prison, Kitalya prison, Kigo main, Kigo women prison, Jinja main prison, Jinja women prison, Mbarara group of prisons (M/W), Masindi main prison, Arua prison, Gulu main prison, Fort Portal main prison, Namalu prison (in Karamoja) and Nakasongola prison. Out of the 45,000 prisoners in the country, 2,408 are enrolled in primary, 576 are in secondary school, 161 on the university programme while 3,131 inmates are undertaking vocational and technical skills training on a separate training component from the production component.

Prison Education

Every prison school head teacher has an inmate co-head teacher and every teacher sent from the ministry of education has a co-teacher within prison. The ministry only sends teachers while the head teachers are trained prison officers with an education background.

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Apart from not having sciences, the A-level section and primary section across all the prisons education centers have not yet been taken over by government. They are private schools operating within a public institution under the public-private partnerships. Ministry of education ought to take up its mandate of educating the citizens through providing grants and also providing education programs to all the inmate schools countrywide. There is need for government to consider a block fund to provide assistance in prison schools.

Only Luzira prison enjoys the full education system from P1 to university. Most other correctional facilities stop learning at secondary school level, with plans to progress further, as the number of learners increases. Inmates, who are held upcountry but are keen to further their education beyond senior one, can seek transfer to Luzira, depending on the length of their sentences. Administratively, this has put the prison education system under 15 regions across the country with intentions to expand further.

Prison teaching is interactive and in form of discussions since the students are mature people, who have an independent mindset. They may just not feel like studying because it is simply too hot or too cold.


Like other ideal schools, prisons also have libraries and computer centers. From the libraries, students can borrow all sorts of books, both educational and leisure books according to Daphne Namudde, the welfare and rehabilitation in-charge at Kigo prison.
The computer centre at Kigo prison is a spacious room with 14 study points and a huge table with about 20 seats around it. This table serves as a reading point.

From the centre, students can enroll for a certificate in computer applications and those who have never interfaced with a computer can get to learn the primary components of a computer. The centre, as expected, does not have internet. Students rely on software called the encyclopedia, which serves a purpose akin to Wikipedia.
Apart from the normal curriculum, the students receive non-examinable trainings in social entrepreneurship, philosophy and creative writing, among others, in a six-week annual programme sponsored by the Iowa-based Drake University in conjunction with Muteesa I Royal University.

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Providing quality education for people inside prison, coupled with greater support upon release, carries the very real possibility of transforming the inmates into community champions of change.