Learning Programs or Educational Curricula for Prisons in the Twenty-First Century?

Learning Programs or Educational Curricula for Prisons in the Twenty-First Century?

Idowu Biao (University of Botswana, Botswana)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2909-5.ch011


This chapter states that there exists a difference between a learning program and an educational curriculum. Beneficiary-learners participate in the development, implementation and evaluation of learning programs whereas educational curricula are offered by some authorities who hardly consult with potential learners and who oversee the fashioning, execution and evaluation of the programs they have developed. The chapter draws attention to the fact that with regards to education in prison, the world is currently divided into three camps (nations that believe in the provision of a full range of educational services to prisoners, those that hold the view that only a limited provision of educational services is needed and nations that think prisoners deserve no education). The chapter ends by supplying a rationale for the provision of learning programs to the prisoner and the psycho-social and temporal sources from where the building blocks for such learning programs should be derived.
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How I wished I could entitle this chapter ‘Prison Education Curricula for the Twenty-First Century’ since ‘curriculum’ is a terminology in currency within prison education literature discussing contents of educational programs offered in prisons. However, I am not able to adopt this terminology in this chapter because first and foremost the terminology ‘curriculum’ was deliberately invented in 1918 for learning institutions (Alvior, 2014; Kelly 2009’ Bilbao, Purita, Lucido, Iringan, Tomasa & Javier, 2008) and prisons were and are still not established expressly as learning institutions in the sense assumed within the context of a curriculum.

A curriculum is considered the “heart” of any learning institution which means that schools or universities cannot exist without a curriculum (Alvior, 2014).

Opened in 1829, Eastern State Penitentiary (sic- the first modern prison, kept prisoners that) spent most of their time in solitary. Whenever they left their cells, they wore hoods to prevent even minimal interaction with the guards or knowledge of the building’s layout… (Sterbenz, 2015).

Secondly, ‘curriculum’ is usually a formal document containing an educational prescription arrived at by either society, the state or/and region to the exclusion of the students (UNESCO, 2016; Alvior, 2014).

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