Inmates get a shot at better future thru tech-voc courses

By Alexander Villafania

MANDALUYONG CITY, METRO MANILA – Inmates now have a chance to become productive while serving their prison sentences through participating in technical-vocational courses.

These courses are specifically developed for inmates by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) under its Training for Work Scholarship Program in partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva said inmates are able to sustain not just themselves while in prison but also their families outside as they provide services while within the prison.

Likewise, inmates can start anew once they have completed their sentences and have been freed. They can find jobs suitable for them and will not have to return to life of crime.

“Being behind bars is not reason to be idle, the inmates have all the time to learn new things to be productive,” Villanueva said in a statement.

The TWSP is actually geared towards out-of-school youths, women, and residents in poor communities across the Philippines. TWSP covers training costs for a number of tech-voc courses for in different industries such as health and wellness, construction, restaurant services, agriculture and fisheries, among others.

Just recently, TESDA offered a hair styling training program to 10 female inmates of the Correctional Institute for Women (CIW). Ten TESDA “Specialistas” also provided hair cut and grooming services to some 600 inmates from both the CIW and the New Bilibid Prison.

Apart from TESDA, the Department of Education (DepEd) also offered elementary-level alternative learning system (ALS) courses to CIW inmates, which would qualify them for higher level education if they intend to go back to school.

As of May 2012, there are at least 69,000 inmates nationwide, according to the BJMP. Of this figure, only about 6,400 are female.

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