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Prisons authority wins $20,000 UNESCO prize over NOUN’s programme

The Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS) has won the 2018 UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy due to an education for prisoners’ programme being run by the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN).

NOUN has been educating prisoners free of charge.


This was made known in a press release, the Director of Media and Publicity, NOUN, Mr. Ibrahim Sheme.

It said a letter from UNESCO to the Comptroller-General of the NPS, Mr Ja’afaru Ahmed, noted that the prize’s jury “highly appreciated the programme for its innovative approach in equipping prisoners with useful skills and professions to facilitate income generation upon discharge (and) discourage future crime.”


The prize is jointly instituted by UNESCO and the People’s 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.

Winners of the prize are awarded a silver medal, a diploma and US$20,000 prize money, as well as a trip to the birthplace of Confucius, Chinese educator and philosopher.

Also, a letter from Nigeria’s Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, Ambassador Miriam Y. Katagum, intimated the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, requested that “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 the Confucius Prize will be given at an award ceremony for the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes, at the organisation’s headquarters in Paris on September 7, 2018.


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