BY Ruwan Laknath Jayakody
In light of underperformance at the school level, the Association of Friends of Prisoners’ Children (AFPC) highlighted the need to adopt a different approach to uplifting the education levels of children who have a parent currently within the penal system.
The Association, through their involvement as a member of the Welikada Prison (including the Magazine Prison) Welfare Board, is presently sponsoring 300 students from rural village areas across the country from Grade Five upwards, who are children whose fathers are incarcerated in the male ward at the Welikada Prison.
Chairperson of the Association, Dhammi Fernando said that as a result of the primary breadwinner being behind bars, they are essentially raised by a single parent, the mother, who is in turn forced to go out and work to earn in order to pay for the children’s expenses. Unemployment coupled with poverty, personal safety and security related issues, discrimination from fellow villagers and the inadequacy of facilities available to them, are the main challenges they face, she noted.
Based on the annual students’ progress reports obtained by the Association from the schools in relation to the children the Association sponsors, Fernando noted that while a minority of students had done well in their studies, in the case of the majority of the children, the level of education was abysmal.
“We even give them money for tuition, but our approach has not borne fruit. Our intention is to raise the level of education among such children and thereby reduce crime levels. We need to take a different approach. Psychological counseling for the purpose of relieving stress and tension in these students is of utmost importance, particularly due to the fact that they have tendency to be and get isolated. The support of the society and schools is required,” she added.
Courtesy : CEYLON TODAY