Cyprus’ prison population has the highest participation per capita in educational and training programmes compared to their counterparts in other member states of the Council of Europe, Phileleftheros reported on Sunday citing figures submitted by the Justice Ministry to parliament.
It noted that Nicosia Central Prison offers convicts a second opportunity to obtain education and professional training, with the number of inmates participating in educational programmes up from 280 in 2015 to 489 in 2019.
Currently more than 75% of the prison population participates in educational programmes while the number of subjects offered has risen from 11 in 2015 to 34 in 2018 and 43 in 2019. The prison operated two schools in 2014 and currently operates seven. These have been renovated and equipped as have the professional training facilities.
Mainstream education follows the Education Ministry’s curriculum. Nicosia’s evening technical school also operates a unit in prison since 2015 offering eight options including woodwork -furniture making, hotel and catering, design and plumbing. Graduates secure a leavers’ certificate equivalent to that awarded outside the prison.
In 2018-2019, a total of 126 inmates attended the technical school of whom 82 to secure a leavers’ certificate and 44 as observers. Also in operation is a lower secondary school (gymnasium) for those who do not have a leaver’s certificate to obtain one so as to be able to sign up for the upper secondary school (lyceum) either in prison or on their release. In 2018-2019, 45 inmates attended the gymnasium five of whom took the exam for the leaver’s’certificate.
Inmates can also sign up for training programmes offered in cooperation with the Human Resources Development Authority that includes technical training, health and safety in the work place programmes and secretarial programmes with a view to securing certification.
Programmes which do not lead to certification in accounting, computers, foreign languages, first aid and other skills are also offered while participants can take exams (British Council, LCCI, ECDL etc).
Inmates can acquire a university degree and in 2019 a total of 17 were registered in the following courses:
Six to obtain a law degree
Three to obtain a psychology degree
Three to obtain a business administration degree
Two to obtain a social sciences degree
Two to obtain a computer science degree
And one to obtain a post graduate degree in international and European studies.
One inmate obtained a post graduate degree in business administration through distance learning.
The prisons also have a drama group, a choir and dance group, and sport activities.