The Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS) have been awarded with the 2018 UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy, as a result of its education for prisoners programme being run by the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN).
Mr Ibrahim Sheme, the Director of Media and Publicity of NOUN, made this known in a statement on Tuesday In Abuja.
According to Sheme, Noun Africa’s top Open and Distance Learning (ODL) Institute, has been providing tuition free education for prisoners for years.
The prize is jointly instituted by UNESCO and the Peoples Republic of China in 2007 to reward outstanding individuals, governments and NGOs working to promote literacy for rural adults and out-of-school young people, particularly women and girls.
It was named after Confucius (551-479 BC), the Chinese educator and philosopher and one of the most famous historical and cultural figures, whose thinking still has great influence on education in China and the world today.
The award comes with 20,000 dollar prize money, a silver medal, a diploma as well as a trip to the birthplace of Confucius.
NPS, according to the director, was selected along side five winners of this year’s prize in recognition of its innovative literacy programme of equipping prisoners with useful skills and professions to facilitate income generation.
Sheme said also that a letter from Nigeria’s Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, Ambassador Miriam Katagum, intimated the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, that UNESCO recognised that the NPS’s education programme was effective.
“NPS education programme is effective through the establishment of Prisons Study Centres by the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN).
“NOUN should therefore be congratulated as the facilitator of the programme that won the Nigerian Prisons Service this important UNESCO prize.”
UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Education, Stefania Giannini, said in a letter to the NPS’s Ahmed that the Confucius Prize will be given at an award ceremony for the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes, scheduled to take place at the organisation’s headquarters in Paris on Sept. 7.