The Literate Brazil (Brasil Alfabetizado) Program plans to impart literacy instruction this year to more than 4,300 prison inmates in 20 Brazilian states.
The inmates were enrolled in the literacy program late last year through agreements between the Ministry of Education (MEC) and local governments and non-governmental organizations.
The expectation is to form 239 classes, which will function in the prisons for periods lasting from six to eight months.
"Prisoners are deprived of their civil rights, but not their human rights. One of the basic human rights, guaranteed by the Constitution, is access to education, at least at the level of fundamental school," said Carlos Teixeira, a technical specialist in the ministry’s Department of Literacy Instruction.
"We should seek, through their education during the time in which they are maintained totally idle, to give them a chance to complete their studies and rejoin society afterwards as changed individuals," he added.
According to Teixeira, the literacy instructors should receive a monthly stipend US$ 13.24 (R$ 30) greater than the US$ 52.92 (R$ 120) paid to their counterparts in traditional literacy programs.
The instructors who will work in the prisons were also given specific training to deal with the inmates. This is not the first occasion in which prison inmates will participate in the Literate Brazil Program.