Highlights — 10 October 2018 — by Rowland A. Parks
13 Kolbe inmates prepare to re-enter society by sitting and passing PSE

“… the only weapon I want you to pick up: education,” said Dr. Carol Babb

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Oct. 8, 2018– Some inmates at the Belize Central Prison, managed by the Kolbe Foundation, have shown promising signs that they are capable of being reformed and are preparing to re-enter society in a better state of mind than when they were first imprisoned, because while paying their debt to society, they are also making preparations to gain an education that they missed out on.

Thirteen of the inmates sat and passed the Primary School Examination (PSE).

A certificate ceremony was held on the prison compound this past Friday for the inmates who passed the PSE and for a number of prisoners who received andragogy instructions. The inmate who scored the highest on the PSE, Marvin Stevens, spoke at the ceremony, as well as Chief Education Officer, Dr. Carol Babb, and Central Prison CEO, Virgilio Murillo.

This is the third year that inmates at the prison, attending the Cindy Gregg School (prison school,) have sat the PSE. The school is headed by principal Norman Willacey. This year fifteen inmates sat the PSE and only two did not pass. The examination is carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Education.

Stevens, a youth who began life on a rebellious path that landed him in the Youth Hostel at the tender age of 10, after he was expelled from primary school, continued on his rebellious path until he ended up as an inmate at the prison, where he is serving a 15-year sentence for manslaughter.

In his remarks, Stevens expressed remorse to everyone that he had hurt or offended. He said that he realized that he was not getting younger and that he had to make choices that he has to live with.

Stevens said he jumped at the opportunity when he heard that the Ministry of Education was planning to assist the inmates to get further education. After enrolling in the class, however, Stevens said he wanted to quit when others told him the exam was for kids, and that he is too old, but he persevered.

“The truth about it all is that I must continue whatever I aspire to, as long as it concerns education and personal development,” Stevens said.

“This accomplishment of yours is a vivid example that your life is not over just because you have crossed the threshold in prison. The Ministry of Education and their staff provided you with a most quality opportunity to achieve some greatness even while you are behind bars,” CEO Murillo remarked.

“You are blessed with some talent and I hope that while you are in here you get the opportunity to pursue your dream, the dream that you did not get the opportunity to pursue,” Dr. Babb told the inmates.

“You can help to build Belize to be a better and safer place if you choose to educate yourself fully. So go until you cannot go anymore, we are willing to help you. Nelson Mandela said, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon that can change you as an individual and impact others.’ That is the only weapon I want you to pick up: education,” Dr. Babb added.

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