Investigating the participation of inmates in literacy programmes at Kalomo State Prison, Kalomo District, Zambia
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The study sought to investigate the participation of inmates in literacy programmes at Kalomo State prison. The objectives were to: establish how inmates are actively involved in the learning process; investigate how inmates are encouraged to take control of their own learning; and establish how inmates contribute to the development of a curriculum that draws on their interest. The target population comprised inmate students, non-student inmates, instructor and correction officer. The sample size comprised 62 respondents segmented as follows: 30 non-student inmates selected through simple random sampling, 30 inmate students, 1 instructor and 1 correction officer, all selected through purposive sampling procedure. This study employed a case study design in which a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods was used. Prior to collection of data, a letter of permission was gotten from the University of Zambia, Directorate of Research and Graduate Studies and then presented to the prison authorities. Collection of evidence relied on questionnaires administered on inmate students and non-inmate students and interviews conducted with the instructor and correction officer. Quantitative data were analysed using Social Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software while qualitative data were coded in themes. The findings revealed that inmates were not actively involved in the learning process. They were not given an opportunity to decide, plan or evaluate their learning. It was also established that inmates were not encouraged to take control of their own learning. Finally, the study revealed that inmates were not allowed to contribute to the development of a curriculum that drew on their interest and knowledge. These were the recommendations: The instructors should solicit for the learners’ input in the progamme. Inmates should be accepted as adults with experience that the educators should tap into. The instructors should work closely with inmates in determining their learning needs, planning, decision-making and implementing the programme. The Ministry of Home Affairs particularly the Prison Service should provide some flexibility and some degree of autonomy so that inmates are able to take control of their learning within the prison environment. The Ministry of Education should employ people trained in adult education as instructors. Curriculum development should be bottom up involving inmates as primary stakeholders and their literacy needs, interests and knowledge should be placed to the forefront.