Offenders from Pollsmoor and Malmesbury prison were given a second chance on Monday, 27 August when they were presented with certificates of excellence from the International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL) by the South African Minister of Correctional Services, Ngconde Balfour.
In February this year as part of a partnership between The Shuttleworth Foundation, Inkululeko and ICDL, Pollsmoor and Malmesbury Prison were registered as the first Open ICDL prison centres in the world. Balfour was on hand to receive the centre registration certificate for the prisons and at the same time acknowledge that the ICDL would be an integral part of the offender development programme.
"The role the ICDL certification program can play to develop offenders and maximise their ability to return to the workplace with real skills needed by the South African economy is a reality," he said.
"These offenders obtained their ICDL certification after completing their ICDL examinations as part of the offender development program," said Jennifer van Niekerk, chief executive officer of the ICDL in South Africa.
"What these offenders have achieved is remarkable. Obtaining the ICDL qualification is not trivial - one requires commitment and dedication," continued van Niekerk.
To obtain the ICDL, a candidate must demonstrate practical proficiency in each of the most commonly used software tools. The student has to pass all seven modules at a very high level with a greater than 75% pass rate.
Van Niekerk says the commitment shown by the Department of Correctional Services has been tremendous and the support they have given to the 40 candidates in assisting them to complete their certification has been phenomenal.
"Based on this success, it is expected that this development program will be offered in other Correctional Services facilities throughout South Africa," said van Niekerk.