MegaNexus, Europris, Weston College and Prisoners Abroad (MEWPA) is the first UK initiated and digitally enabled project, enabling remote learning facilities for offenders detained overseas. The project will provide a small set (circa 3-5) of British offenders currently detained in Belgium with access to educational content. The offenders (“learners”) involved within the pilot are currently in contact with Prisoner’s abroad and will be selected once having their interest in learning assessed. This pilot will take place between January and July 2017.
Each offender will undertake an initial assessment of their educational level, with the results being used to assign specifically allocated courses. As an associate partner of the FORINER project, Weston College will supply their UK recognised educational content to the partaking learners. The courses will all be preassigned, varying in academic and vocational subject areas dependent upon their specified interests.
The content will be accessible to these learners via the MegaNexus Virtual Campus, a secure, web based portal that enables learners in 105 prisons across England and Wales to access courses and materials that support their rehabilitative journey back into the community.
The Virtual Campus (“VC”) is a secure hosted platform developed to support distance learning. VC facilitates individual access under strict security policies involving supervision by advisors/ tutors. Having individual portal accessibility means that courses and content can be completed at the learners own pace, which allows them to engage and proceed at an appropriate level, and also enables the learner to store coursework and to return to courses where previously left off.
The learners will access VC via the existing computer systems within the prison, allowing a quick and smooth commence. An advisor located in a UK prison will support the learners, using the VC to securely relay message them with any issues they have or support they may need.
Development of the pilot is currently underway, with the deployment of education and content to take place between February and July 2017. This pilot will demonstrate the ease with which a digital platform can facilitate cross border communication, and support the sharing of education between custodial establishments on a Pan- European basis.