The Irrawaddy

50 Percent of Inmates Who Sat for Matriculation Exam Passed

Two Mandalay girls react after checking their results on Saturday when nationwide matriculation exam results were released.

MANDALAY — About 50 percent of the prison inmates across the country who sat for the matriculation exam in the 2017-18 academic year passed, some with flying colors.

According to the prison department, which is under Ministry of Home Affairs, 106 inmates sat for the matriculation exam from Insein Prison in Yangon, Obo Prison in Mandalay, Hpa-An Prison in Karen State, Sittwe Prison in Rakhine State, Myaungmya Prison in Irrawaddy Region, Myeik Prison in Tanintharyi Region, Taungoo and Thayet prisons in Bago Region and Shwebo Prison in Sagaing Region.

From Insein Prison, 19 inmates out of 34 passed the exam, along with 27 out of 55 inmates from Obo Prison – 21 of them with honors.

“Four inmates received three distinctions, another four earned two distinctions and 13 others passed the exam with one distinction,” said U Cho Win Tun, the superintendent of Obo Prison.

The superintendent said Obo Prison is applying for a permit from the prison department to hold a celebration to honor the inmates and their teachers for all of the efforts they put into this year’s exam.

“If they want to continue to university, we will cooperate with the Ministry of Education to participate in distance education, as they still have to serve their prison terms,” said U Cho Win Tun. “Hopefully, there will be a presidential pardon for them, as there was in the past year, especially for those who received honors.”

In the 2016-17 academic year, five inmates from Obo Prison who matriculated with honors were released under a presidential pardon.

“We will try to give them further education as much as we can. In the past, the inmates who passed with honors were released, as they were not serving life sentences. Their release also depends on what type of crimes they’ve committed,” said U Min Tun Soe, a Naypyitaw-based Prisons Department Deputy Director.

“However, it also depends on the decision of government officials, the president and commitments from the inmates,” he added.

Starting in the 2012-13 academic year, Insein Prison began allowing inmates to take the matriculation exams. Inmates from other prisons who wanted to take them had to take them at Insein Prison.

As there were a large number of inmates from Obo Prison who also wanted to sit the exam, its exam center was open in the 2016-17 academic year. Following that year, most prisons across the country were allowed to open exam centers for any inmate who wanted to attempt the exam.