Exploring Prisoners’ Communication Strategies with their Supervisors when Studying in E-Learning Mode: A Case of Namibia


  • Vimbi Petrus Mahlangu


communication; e-learning; student prisoner; supervisor; communication strategies


This study delves into the communication strategies used by inmates when engaging in e-learning within the confines of a Namibian prison. Despite the challenging living conditions inherent in such environments, the research posits that inmates exhibit a strong motivation to pursue further education. The rise of e-learning has opened educational opportunities for diverse populations, including those incarcerated. In Namibia, prisoners have access to education through e-learning platforms, allowing them to pursue studies and gain qualifications. However, this mode of learning presents unique challenges, particularly in communication with supervisors. The objective was to understand the challenges faced by prisoners following higher education programs in communicating with their supervisors. Method: Data was collected through interviews, situated within an interpretive paradigm. The study focused on a sample of prisoners enrolled in e-learning programs in a Namibian correctional facility. Analysis: Verbatim transcripts of audio-recorded interviews were meticulously prepared by a skilled transcriber, offering the author a comprehensive material for interpretation. Thematic analysis was used to interpret the data. Results: It was found that prisoners’ communication strategies with their supervisors, amongst others, included communication via-email; telephonic communication; communication via the internet and online studies, as well as through in-person appointments. Furthermore, the study contextualized its findings within the evolution of Namibia's legal system, highlighting a significant shift from punitive measures towards a rehabilitative focus on corrections and community reintegration. Namibia's legal system is rehabilitative instead of being punitive. This transformation underscores the broader societal changes in attitudes towards incarceration and highlights the importance of educational initiatives within correctional facilities.



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