In Kenyan Prison, Education May Mean Freedom

In Kenyan Prison, Education May Mean Freedom

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By Jeri Watson / VOA News

Eighteen people in central Kenya are taking the country’s secondary education test, called the KNEC. Even under normal conditions, this examination can make a student nervous. But these 18 students may feel especially fearfulThey are serving sentences in a top-security prison. And if they do well on the test, they might get to leave the prison.

During the test the inmates sit at school desks at Naivasha Prison. These prisoners have writing tools and plastic devices used in mathematics. The classroom looks like any other except that the students are wearing prison uniforms.

David Noah Okwemba has just finished the examination for history and biology.  He says he wants people to know that the prisoners are no longer criminalsInstead, he says they are students.

Prisoners who perform well can have their sentences amended. They may be released early to go to university or find employment.

Patrick Mwenda is head officer at Naivasha prison. He says Naivasha works with the high courts to consider the cases of prisoners who get high marks.

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