Education plays a vital role in the progress of a nation. It is the most effective tool to unlock one’s intellectual and social potential. The Constitution of Pakistan also provides the right to education to every citizen, regardless of his status, caste, creed, colour or gender. May someone be rich or poor, man or a woman, a child or an elder, a ruler or a slave, every person should be free to learn.

This brings me to a thought provoking sad reality that our education policy lacks concerns about the ‘caged’ ones suffering behind the walls of Pakistan’s prisons.

Yes, being a Pakistani citizen, I feel duty bound to divert the attention of our government to take necessary initiatives to provide proper education facilities and skills for the prisoners all over the country. There could be inevitable positive outcome of the decision and it will go a long way in improving the miserable condition of prisoners.

This was originally the initiative of the federal ombudsman, who identified the core causes of the miserable condition of the prisoners. The persons behind bars should not only be thought as objects. They are human beings and deserve a life of respect and dignity after their release.

It is a fact that the increasing crime rate is directly proportional to the increasing poverty and lack of education among people. All these factors together form a vicious circle with no way out ahead.

Providing education for the prisoners and teaching them different technical skills would help them shape their minds and ultimately future of their families who entirely depend on them - the sole bread earners.

Awareness brings maturity and the skill to decide between the right and the wrong. For this purpose, vocational lectures on the essence of humanity and morality should be given to them. Being humans, the prisoners are also useful members of the society and we are all responsible for their better future.

Keeping these factors in mind, greater reliance should be made on the courses which have greater acceptability in the market e.g. the female prisoners should be offered courses like beautician, sewing, etc and the male inmates should be taught technical skills on computers.

Apart from their education, our prisoners should be provided with proper rooms and hygienic conditions. For this purpose, the prison cells should be restructured. Additionally, the method of investigation should be made sophisticated.

Innocent people are mercilessly whipped until they fall ill. The impacts of teaching them would only be meaningful if they are provided with the basic necessities of life first. This includes healthy food to eat and hygienic conditions to live.

There is a dire need to reform the prison system through amendment in the relevant rules and procedures. The Pakistan’s prison rules are old and need to be updated, especially in terms of prisoner’s education. So upon their release, they may be made transformed citizens.

A society is not only represented by a single group of people, it is in fact a package consisting of every single individual living in a community, regardless of his rank. As a consequence, success of a nation can only be guaranteed, if every individual prospers in their life.

The writer is a student at Institute of Social and Culture Studies, University of the Punjab.