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Education as rehabilitation at Goodwood Correctional Services

For the last four years, Oxbridge Academy has been involved in Goodwood Correctional Services' rehabilitative educational and vocational training programme. We recently talked to Glory Shabangu, the Education & Training manager at this correctional facility, about the work they do and the role education plays in solving one of the biggest social problems facing South Africa.
How to curb rising crime

Last month, there was a lot of talk about the ISS' release of their 2015 crime statistics report, which indicated a dramatic rise in crime across South Africa. Once again, we were reminded that crime is one of the biggest social problems in South Africa, as it devastates communities, destroys lives, cripples the economy, and demoralises citizens.

Education as rehabilitation at Goodwood Correctional Services
No one seems to have a sure-fire solution to this problem, however. Police Minister Nathi Nhleko candidly stated that this problem cannot be solved by policing. An increase in policing will only treat the symptoms. What Nhleko suggested we need is intervention on a social level. "We are dealing with the social circumstance of society," Nhleko stated. "The numbers are also reflective of the state of society."

At the heart of the education and training programme at Goodwood Correctional Services is this idea of social intervention as a means to rehabilitate offenders and consequently to curb the national crime rate. The aim of the educational programme, says Glory Shabangu, is "to influence offenders to adopt a positive and appropriate norms and values system and to develop life, social and vocational skills that will equip the offenders to function effectively without having to return to crime."

Empowerment as a form of rehabilitation

In 2012, as part of the Lead SA initiative, Oxbridge Academy started its Corporate Social Responsibility programme by sponsoring a distance learning college course for an inmate at the Goodwood Correctional Services facility. This was such a success that Oxbridge Academy decided to continue donating more and more courses and bursaries with each following year. In the last two years, Oxbridge Academy has donated over 20 courses to the inmates of Goodwood Correctional Services.

According to Shabangu, the success of these particular courses lies in the fact that they "are outcomes-based, need-driven, cost-effective, and meet the requirements of the National Qualification Framework (NQF)." But it's about more than just practicality, however. These programmes are vocational skills development courses, which means that they empower inmates by allowing them to participate in the country's economy and thus to successfully reintegrate into society.

"Education improves the quality of life for offenders," says Shabangu. "It provides diverse educational opportunities to offenders that are needs-based and market-related. It equips offenders with skills and attributes necessary for self-reliance and good citizenship." The effects of these courses are very positive, according to Shabangu. "When offenders are released, they are able to find employment through the skills obtained from Oxbridge Academy and to sustain their families and continue with their studies outside."

Lenette Daniel, who has been responsible for driving the programme from Oxbridge Academy's side, says, "I look at what courses can benefit them. Like OHS or Logistics and Supply Chain Management. Something that will at least enable them to apply for work when they are done."

For the 2015/2016 year, Oxbridge Academy is donating 30 distance learning courses to the Goodwood Correctional Services, including Small Business Management, OHS, Project Management, and Logistics and Supply Chain Management courses.

Why corporate social responsibility matters

According to Chapter 3 of the White Paper on Corrections in South Africa in the Department of Correctional Services, correction and rehabilitation is a societal responsibility. For this reason, says Shabangu, "the Department of Correctional Services needs cooperation from other government Departments, community-based organisations, and non-governmental organisations." She adds, "Collectively there is a need to ensure we contribute to the betterment of the circumstances of families and communities."

The social problems South Africa faces cannot be solved by governmental or legislative intervention alone. There is, as Shabangu states, a civic responsibility that lies with every corporation, business, and individual citizen in South Africa. "It is imperative for external service providers to have sustainable partnerships with the Department of Correctional Services to rehabilitate offenders through education, employment, and training for self-employment on their release," says Shabangu.

Oxbridge Academy is proud to continue being part of the education and training programme at Goodwood Correctional Services. Hopefully the little that we do, together with efforts from other organisations, governmental bodies, and people like Glory Shabangu, will contribute to the solution of the biggest social problem facing South African society.

To find out more about Oxbridge Academy, you can visit our website here or call us on 021 1100 200.

23 Oct 2015 12:50

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