International Day of Education in Prison

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Happy International

Day of Education

in Prison from

Nina Champion

It is wonderful to be celebrating the first ‘International Day of Education in Prison’ (IDEP).

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On the 13th of October 1989, the Council of Europe adopted a set of recommendations outlining the needs and responsibilities concerning the education of imprisoned persons in Europe. These recommendations form the basis of the objectives of the EPEA, and have been ratified in the educational policies of a number of European countries. However, we still have a long way to go to ensure that the recommendations are sufficiently implemented across Europe and internationally.

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of these recommendations, the EPEA established an International Day of Education in Prison (IDEP), to be observed annually on the 13th of October. 

IDEP events today

·         I am heading to an event this afternoon at HMP Brixton in London where the new Secretary of State for Justice and others will be speaking about ‘Learning Together’ prison university partnerships where students from universities study alongside prison learners. The event will be promoting Recommendation 15: Where education has to take place within the prison, the outside community should be involved as fully as possible.

·         In Scotland EPEA member and Magazine Editor James King has organised an art competition and event in HMP Barlinnie promoting Recommendation 12: Creative and cultural activities should be given a significant role because these activities have particular potential to enable prisoners to develop and express themselves.

·         London has been the base for the Erasmus+ FORINER project this week hosting prison educators from across Europe. The Partners in this project are:  1) MegaNexus, who implemented the Virtual Campus system across UK prisons, 2) VOCVO, a Flemish support centre for adult education, 3) Vrije Universiteit Brussel who carrying out research into prisoners‘ participation in prisons in Antwerp and Ghent in Belgium and 4) Education Behind Foreign Bars, an organisation providing education for Dutch inmates in foriegn prisons for ten years. EPEA is an associated partner for the project. The project most closely reflects Recommendation 3: Education in prison shall aim to develop the whole person bearing in mind his or her social, economic and cultural context.

If you are organising or attending an event for IDEP, please let me know so I can tell others in the next Western Region newsletter.

The EPEA have announced an IDEP Publicity award for remarkable efforts to promote the day. If you would like to apply to win a free place at the next EPEA conference see application details here.

If you are not going to an event you can raise awareness in other ways:

·         Use social media to talk about #IDEP today.

·         See if you can encourage someone to become a member of EPEA today.

·         Send me an email and tell me about prison education in your country.

If you have any questions, comments, ideas, reports or events, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Enjoy IDEP. I look forward to hearing from you!

Nina Champion

Western Region Representative, EPEA

west@epea.org

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