MBA IN­MATE BREAKS FREE OF BAD DES­TINY

New Straits Times - - Letters -

IREFER to a re­port on a pris­oner who grad­u­ated with a Mas­ter of Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tion from Open Univer­sity Malaysia (OUM) at its re­cent con­vo­ca­tion.

The story of Adam (not his real name), 30, an il­lit­er­ate, and be­hinds bars for a mur­der com­mit­ted when he was 14, stirred my heart and mind to be­lieve that our fu­ture is in our hands, and with God’s help, we can cor­rect the mis­takes made.

This news caught my at­ten­tion and in­spired many who are be­hind bars and those in the free world that there is hope in a hope­less sit­u­a­tion, that there ex­ists another op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate one’s fu­ture.

To­gether with another, Adam achieved his goal and is con­tem­plat­ing pur­su­ing his PhD, an en­deav­our that’s achiev­able if he main­tains his pas­sion.

His feat is un­be­liev­able, com­mend­able and ex­em­plary, es­pe­cially to those who feel they are de­nied op­por­tu­ni­ties in life.

A de­ci­sion ex­e­cuted be­hind prison walls says much about Adam’s com­mit­ment and willpower.

Most pris­on­ers would have re­signed them­selves to a life of wretched­ness.

To make good, pris­on­ers like Adam and even free cit­i­zens should not give up but take the chance of­fered and re­pay what so­ci­ety has blessed them with in the first place: ed­u­ca­tion in or out­side prison walls.

I am happy that the govern­ment and prison au­thor­i­ties have pro­vided con­tin­u­ous ed­u­ca­tion to ju­ve­niles and other pris­on­ers to help them rein­te­grate into so­ci­ety upon their re­lease or par­don.

Teach­ers play an im­por­tant role, not only in teach­ing, but also mo­ti­vat­ing these young peo­ple to bet­ter them­selves.

I am sure teach­ers in prison also act as coun­sel­lors to these pris­on­ers.

I have a friend, El­iza Jeremiah, who teaches at Ka­jang Prison as she is pas­sion­ate about want­ing to cre­ate a fu­ture for these young lives.

She is one of the few who have cho­sen to do the noble job of teach­ing and mould­ing their char­ac­ter and ground­ing them in moral val­ues.

How many teach­ers are will­ing to be in a for­ti­fied place to teach young and adult pris­on­ers?

These are ded­i­cated teach­ers, un­likely to be no­ticed out­side prison walls, but who are pre­par­ing ju­ve­niles, pre-adults and adults for life when they are re­leased.

I com­mend the Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry, which thought it right to pro­vide ed­u­ca­tion, from pri­mary to sec­ondary and ter­tiary, where teach­ers and prison staff are cru­cial to their suc­cess.

With OUM pro­vid­ing dis­tance learn­ing, no one be­hind bars should miss this op­por­tu­nity.

With God’s help, we can es­cape hope­less­ness.

We can­not blame any­one if we chart a wrong di­rec­tion. We have to make it right.

Adam chose to do right by pur­su­ing an ed­u­ca­tion, thus cre­at­ing a des­tiny filled with hope and as­pi­ra­tion.

Com­mit­ment, pas­sion and deter­mi­na­tion are pre­req­ui­sites to get­ting a qual­i­fi­ca­tion be­hind bars.

There is no short­cut ex­cept to pay the price for suc­cess.

Sweat and tears are ex­pected along the aca­demic jour­ney.

It is all about leav­ing one’s com­fort zone in a prison cell to cre­ate one’s des­tiny.

Some­one said: “Be fearless in the pur­suit of what sets your soul on fire.”

To teach­ers, I wish all Happy Teach­ers Day. Strive for ex­cel­lence and cre­ate ex­cel­lence in your stu­dents.

DR TAN ENG BEE Ka­jang, Se­lan­gor

In­mates who pur­sue ed­u­ca­tion can lead a pur­pose­ful life once they are re­leased.

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