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EDUCATION FOR ALL IN THE CARIBBEAN: ASSESSMENT 2000 MONOGRAPH SERIES 24 - page 11 / 44

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Introduction

This monograph reviews prison education in selected Caribbean countries at the end of the 20th century, within the context of Education for All (EFA) in the Caribbean. It seeks to examine the growth and development of educational programmes within the prison systems of the selected countries; the thrust toward rehabilitation of all inmates through education; and adherence to the general standards of EFA in the Caribbean, within the context of the World Declaration on Education for All and the Framework for Action to Meet Basic Learning Needs adopted in Jomtien (Final report, 1990).

It is the ultimate goal of the EFA movement to educate all peoples; providing every child with formal education, as well as providing opportunities for the education of all adults within any given population. It highlights the need to enhance the skills, knowledge, and attitudes possessed by both adults and children, in order to make them more conscious and constructive in achieving and promoting their society’s development. This, the EFA movement feels, will be best achieved through the enhancement and utilisation of programmes geared towards the development of literacy skills; vocational or employment skills; and positive attitudes and values towards the self, the community, and others. The monograph thus seeks to examine adult education within the context of the prison system, often seen as merely penal institutions.

At a workshop on “Fostering a Culture of Peace through Education, Rehabilitation and Empowerment” held in Jamaica in 1998, Senator, the Honourable Burchell Whiteman, the Jamaican Minister of Education Youth and Culture, expressed the view that it is only through rehabilitation and education that the incarcerated can find peace and have the skills for successful reintegration into society. He stressed the need for the participants in the workshop (individuals involved with prisons in the Caribbean) to find creative ways to re-educate and retool inmates in keeping with the general thrust of EFA. It is with this thought in mind that this monograph seeks to assess the various prison systems in the Caribbean as a medium for EFA, as a subset of the general goal of adult education.

Methodology

In preparing this assessment, there was heavy reliance on secondary data from the following sources:

  • The country reports produced for the EFA in the Caribbean Assessment 2000.

  • Monographs submitted as a part of the EFA in the Caribbean Assessment 2000 process.

  • The report of the workshop on “Fostering a Culture of Peace Through Education, Rehabilitation and Empowerment,” Kingston, Jamaica, November 30 - December 4, 1998.

  • The final report of the Fifth International Conference on Adult Education, Hamburg, Germany, 14-18 July, 1997.

  • The United Nations (UN) and UNESCO manual on basic education in prisons (1995)

Seven countries were selected for review based on their participation in the 1998 workshop in Jamaica: The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Curaçao (Netherlands Antilles), Jamaica, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago. Primary research was specifically conducted on Barbados for this monograph, so that the data presented on Barbados do not reflect the general pattern of review. In this pattern, data are presented on the educational programmes geared towards, and available to, adults in the wider society in the following categories: literacy training; skills training; and values, attitudes, and health education,

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