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Second chances can come in various forms. In a collaboration between the Singapore Prison Service and Ngee Ann Polytechnic, inmates will be able to pursue a Polytechnic Diploma while serving their sentences.

With the introduction of a Diploma programme at the Singapore Prison Service’s (SPS) Prison School, inmate-students can now upgrade their skills even further while on their rehabilitation journey.

Home Team News SPS and NP Diploma Collaboration 01
Bringing the Polytechnic experience into prison: NP lecturer Wong Yew Fei with an inmate student Alex. PHOTO: Desmond Ang

32-year-old Alex (not his real name) is one of the inmates pursuing a Diploma in Business Practice (International Supply Chain Management) from Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) while serving his sentence. Having completed his “A” Level qualifications at the Prison School, Alex was grateful for this opportunity to further his education.

It was the positive attitude of inmate-students like Alex that left an impression on the staff of NP. “I thought the students should also acquire technical skills and be ready for the workforce,” said Mr Clarence Ti, Principal of NP. 

Pathways to Change 
Education has been an integral part of SPS since the 1960s. The Prison School system has grown over the decades, and since 2000, inmate-students could pursue their GCE “O”, “N” and “A” Levels qualifications. By providing such learning opportunities, SPS has increased the employability of inmates and reduced their risk of re-offending, benefitting more than 4,600 inmates over the years.

The newly implemented Diploma programme from NP provides a skills-based learning alternative for inmate-students, equipping them with the skills required for a job in the logistics industry. These same competencies will also ease their re-integration back into society upon their release.

Lessons for Life
For some inmate-students, completing one module per month can be a challenge as they may not be used to the routine of studying. To help them cope, the guidance of the NP lecturers has been crucial. 

“Although the Diploma programme is challenging and intensive, it’s really interesting,” shared Alex. “Our lecturers do their best to explain concepts to us, so that we understand better.”

Home Team News SPS and NP Diploma Collaboration 02
NP lecturer Mr Wong conducts classes for the Diploma programme from Monday to Friday. PHOTO: Desmond Ang

Mr Wong Yew Fei is one of the NP lecturers who teaches at the Prison School. Classes began in October 2018 with 16 inmate-students, and there are classes from Monday to Friday. “It’s a different environment here, with less distractions,” shared Mr Wong. “The students are more focused. They take every opportunity to address clarifications with me.”

Should this first Diploma programme prove successful, SPS and NP will consider expanding the variety of available programmes. One inmate-student who’s determined to give it his best is Alex; a father of two, he shared that his family was happy that he was studying for his Diploma, and that he hoped to enter the logistics industry after his release: “I’ll work hard to get the most out of this Diploma programme.”

  1. by Fatimah Mujibah
  2. 21 December 2018
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