Results of the project “Education opens doors” are summed up in Minsk


The meeting was attended by the representatives of key partner organisations – Department of Penalty Execution, penitentiary institutions, educational and social institutions, NGOs – as well as Ms Katrin Denys, Senior Desk Officer Eastern Neighbours, Ms Bettina Brand, Regional Director for Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova and Ms Taru Kernisalo, attaché, project manager of EU Delegation to Belarus.

During the meeting, the participants summed up the results of two-year activities, discussed project outcomes and evaluated the project as a whole.

Thus, around 600 prison inmates have taken part in various educational programmes within 6 educational mini-projects implemented on the premises of penitentiary institutions of Gomel Region. They were able to acquire the professions of "Stove setter", "PC operator", "Welder ", "Hairdresser", and "manicurist and make-up artist". Involved prison inmates acquired computer literacy, personal budget planning and conflict resolution skills, and gained experience in volunteering and peer-to-peer learning. 23 female prisoners became students and, for the first time in the Republic of Belarus, were given the opportunity to get higher education while being in a correctional institution (via distance learning).

Specialists of penitentiary institutions also had an opportunity to improve their competences thanks to the project. A total of 125 people took part in training seminars, courses on the right to education, theory and practice of adult education, international practices of prison education. The specialists also took part in study visits to Latvia and Germany (with the support of the Ministry of Justice, Brandenburg).

During the meeting, the participants emphasized the role of educational programmes in preparing prison inmates for reintegration in society, reducing proneness to conflicts and repeated crimes among those who have undergone training. Therefore, one of the key aspects discussed was prospects of further of development of prison education and future cooperation.

Implementing Gomel Recommendations on Developing Education in Penitentiary Institutions of the Republic of Belarus will be continued by the meeting on the creation of an international working group (expert network) on the issues of education of adults and youth in the penitentiary institutions and after release.

More details on project results are outlined in the Final report on the outcomes achieved during the project and changes in the attitudes of both prison inmates and staff towards life-long learning in penitentiary institutions.