Te Wānanga o Aotearoa has cemented its relationship further with the Department of Corrections following the launch of a new literacy and numeracy service for prison learners.
Minister of Corrections Peseta Sam Lotu Iiga and Te Taiurungi Jim Mather were among a gathering yesterday at Arohata Womens Prison in Tawa, Wellington to launch the new programme which will run in each of New Zealand’s 16 public prisons.
The Intensive Literacy and Numeracy Service (INLS) is the second agreement Te Wānanga o Aotearoa has entered into this year with the Department of Corrections following the signing of Te Waharoa, which runs in the department’s five Māori focus units, in April.
INLS targets 3,600 learners in the mainstream prison population to support prisoners - both male and female - who are struggling with reading, writing and numeracy.
It involves tutors delivering a total of 60,000 hours of learning and will see prisoners undertake an average of 100 hours learning time over a five to 20-week period.
The three-year contract will be measured by learner movement from step 1 and 2 to step 3 or above on the Adult Literacy and Numeracy Progressions.
Te Wānanga o Aotearoa will also work with Corrections staff to help build each prison’s capability to better support the literacy and numeracy needs of prisoners.
This will be achieved through advising sites on best practice and raising the awareness of literacy and numeracy in prisons.
Research shows that participation in education and employment can significantly reduce the risk of re-offending following release from prison.
A recent survey of New Zealand employers also found that literacy and numeracy are ranked in the top three skills that employers look for in prospective employees.
Educational achievement is also important in enabling offenders to fully participate and benefit from other rehabilitative programmes.
Project Sponsor Tony Dowling said Te Wānanga o Aotearoa has been committed to assisting those whose needs have not been met by the mainstream education system.
“The demographics and service expectations of ILNS align directly with those targeted by Te Wānanga o Aotearoa hence this collaboration offers a natural fit that will deliver powerful, transformative education.”
“Many prisoners lack the necessary literacy and numeracy skills, qualifications and work experience to provide for their families, or find and keep rewarding employment post-release.”
Te Wānanga o Aotearoa in partnership with the Department of Corrections is committed to providing an increased level of literacy and numeracy education and employment training for offenders including Māori.
As a result it is expected more prisoners will have the skills and experience to gain and maintain sustainable meaningful employment and progress into higher-level qualifications.
Providing everyday skills so prisoners upon release can participate fully in everyday life is what ILNS is about.
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