Between the Ivory Towers and the Prison Walls: Prison Inmates’ Decision to Pursue Tertiary Education in Open University Malaysia

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF10 Sub-theme: Promoting Equity and Inclusion // Being a correctional entity, the Malaysian Prison Department through its vision and mission is responsible to provide a safe detention and rehabilitation. One of its objectives is to ensure suitable and effective correctional programmes for all categories of inmates. One of the programmes set up by Malaysian Prison Department is to have a collaboration with higher education providers to offer tertiary education for inmates in order to equip them with knowledge and skills to pursue work after release. One of such engagement is the provision of the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes for inmates in selected Malaysian prisons by Open University Malaysia (OUM). OUM conducts undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes for prison inmates. This study aims to determine the factors influencing prison inmates’ decision to pursue higher education in the prisons. 37 respondents from a total of 68 prisoners-students are involved in this study. The Stakeholder Theory and the Theory of Planned Behaviour were adopted as the underpining theories as they are related to attitude and planned behaviour. The Stakeholder Theory enables us to comprehend how a diverse range of stakeholders impact prisoner learning and comprehend the expectations and duties of distinct stakeholders regarding prisoner learning. Whereas, the Theory of Planned Behaviour postulates that an individual’s behaviour is determined by their intention to engage in such behaviour. Factor analysis was utilised to identify if these three factors (student attribute, social influence and financial aid) influenced prison inmates’ decision to pursue Open University Malaysia’s programmes in prisons. Results of the multiple linear regression indicated that there was a significant effect between student attribute and decision to study, which means that inmates' own characteristics will motivate them to continue learning which can lead to future success in their pursuit for excellence in tertiary education. // Paper ID 6370

Prison Inmates,Open Universities,Higher Education