South Africa uses educational competition to rehabilitate prisoners

JOHANNESBURG, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- South African prisons continue to use educational competition as part of the rehabilitation of prisoners with more than 290 inmates taking part in it this year, the Department of Correctional Services said Tuesday.

The 2023 Funda Mzantsi Championship began in George, Western Cape Province, Monday and will end Friday, during which inmates will compete with members from community book clubs, university students and school-going learners, the department said.

Participants will be assessed in four categories: impromptu reading, debating, spelling bee and book reviewing, according to the department.

"Funda Mzantsi is not a competition to see who can read the most books in the shortest time. Instead, it is a celebration of the dedication and passion that readers bring to each and every page they turn. The Department of Correctional Services understands that books have the power to spark change, to inspire movements, and to shape the course of history," the department said. "The program further equips inmates with the best possible opportunity for a second chance in life, the ability to make better choices and be more discerning citizens."

South Africa allows inmates to learn while serving jail terms, with some graduating from secondary school leaving qualifications, degrees and some doctors of philosophy. Some are trained in skills including sewing, plaiting, and carpentry.

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