Getting juvenile inmates (digitally) literate

KUALA LUMPUR:  Five hundred juvenile inmates from 13 prison schools will be trained to use basic computer programs such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel.

This is all part of Microsoft Malaysia and the Prisons Department of Malaysia's objective to make these 16-to-21-year-old inmates digitally literate, to prepare them for jobs or further studies, later.

Mary Snapp, corporate vice president of Microsoft Philanthropies, says that the three-year partnership includes teaching digital literacy, entrepreneurship, computer science and leadership. Microsoft is also looking at providing training to teachers from the prisons. 

This is Microsoft’s second collaboration with the Prisons Department of Malaysia. Last year, Microsoft Malaysia’s Hour of Code initiative introduced over 160 Henry Gurney Prisoners School inmates to a specially created Minecraft coding tutorial.  

Students and educators learnt about the basics of coding at the tutorial – allowing them to navigate, mine, craft and explore in a two-dimensional Minecraft world, plugging together blocks to complete actions and generate code.

Microsoft has been in discussions with the Ministry of Home Affairs to develop similar capacity-building programmes. This has led to the Prisons Department of Malaysia considering the development of IT Academies for these 13 prison schools nationwide, which includes Henry Gurney Prison Schools and Integrity Schools.

Datuk Seri Haji Zulkifli Omar, commissioner general of the Malaysian prisons department, says, “We are using technology to make a meaningful social and economic impact.”


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