By ELENA BECATOROS, Related Press
AVLONA, Greece (AP) — Establishing a tv channel from scratch isn’t the obvious or best factor for a math instructor to do — particularly with out prior technical data and to be used inside a jail.
However that’s precisely the duty Petros Damianos, director of the college at Greece’s Avlona Particular Youth Detention Middle, took on so his college students might entry the teachings that coronavirus lockdowns minimize them off from.
Greek colleges have shut, reopened, and closed once more over the previous 12 months as authorities sought to curtail the unfold of the virus. Like their friends throughout a lot of the globe, the nation’s college students tailored to digital lessons.
However the on-line world isn’t accessible to all.
The Avlona detention middle, a former army jail, holds practically 300 younger males aged 18-21, and typically as much as 25. The college Damianos based there in 2000 now teaches main grades via to varsity, following the nationwide curriculum and awarding commencement certificates equal to any Greek faculty.
Whereas attendance is voluntary, the jail faculty has grown in recognition and noticed document enrollment in September, when as much as 96% of inmates signed up. However with web units banned of their cells, the jail’s college students had no technique to proceed studying when the lockdowns canceled classroom classes.
“Our academics couldn’t attain the children like they attain all different youngsters in Greece,” stated Damianos, a mild-mannered man in his 60s. “This was an enormous drawback, a really massive drawback that appeared virtually insurmountable.”
The truth that inmates are stacked 4 or 5 to a cell with much less house per particular person than the jail school rooms didn’t matter. Their faculty needed to shut together with the remainder throughout lockdowns in March and once more in November.
When he heard in early December that Greece’s colleges wouldn’t reopen earlier than Christmas, “I felt … despair,” Damianos stated. Making issues worse, the lockdown ended visits and furlough depart, so inmates “skilled a double jail,” he stated.
Whereas entry to schooling is necessary for all college students, it’s maybe much more important for Avlona’s, a few of whom have been convicted and others who’re awaiting trial. Many by no means graduated and even accomplished main grades, and schooling is probably the most concrete device they’ll use to show their lives round.
“Primarily, our college students are those that … earlier than they bought to jail, the schooling system expelled them,” Damianos stated. “These youngsters are youngsters we didn’t catch in time. To whom we as a society, after we ought to have, didn’t give what we must always have given.”
Determined for an answer, Damianos had an concept: he might attain his college students via the televisions of their cells if he might work out easy methods to create a devoted TV channel to broadcast their lessons.
Technician buddies informed Damianos it was doable with the required gear. The following hurdle was acquiring the gear with outlets additionally closed through the nationwide lockdown. Then the college’s workers needed to learn to use it.
The college’s music instructor, Nikos Karadosidis, took on the function of technician, utilizing expertise from occasional live performance tech work and steering gleaned from YouTube tutorials.
“I in a short time realized — and that is the magic of it, too — that this complete factor is actually DIY,” Karadosidis stated. “Do it your self, with no matter supplies you will have, with no matter instruments you will have, to attempt to do the most effective you possibly can.”
Via donations, volunteers and on-line orders, the workers cobbled collectively what they wanted. A important piece of kit — a modulator to transmit the TV sign — bumped into supply delays, so a retailer lent them an older one. 2 hundred meters (ft) of cable arrived, and inmates helped run it from the college to the jail’s central aerial.
One jail classroom was transformed right into a rudimentary studio, with an affordable hand-held video digicam taped to a tripod. Multicolored Christmas lights served as a makeshift recording gentle, warning these exterior to maintain quiet throughout recording periods.
On Jan. 8, a couple of month after Damianos had the concept, the channel was prepared. They named it Prospathodas TV, Greek for “Making an attempt TV.” Via phrase of mouth, they bought inmates to re-tune their televisions to seize the brand new channel.
The pilot program was a half-hour math class. Now the channel operates 24 hours a day, operating six hours’ value of pre-recorded classes on a loop on weekdays, and eight hours of content material on a loop on weekends.
The academics document new classes each day: from math and handicrafts to economics and music. Karadosidis edits into the evening and broadcasts the lessons the subsequent day, since dwell broadcasts are nonetheless past their technical capabilities.
For the scholars, going to class supplied extra than simply schooling. Past the collection of barred steel doorways, previous the courtyard with soccer balls caught in coils of razor wire, faculty was a quick respite from the harshness of jail life.
“Faculty is one thing completely different. It’s a bit extra human than the remainder of the jail,” stated M.S., a 21-year-old who earned his highschool diploma in Avlona. “We come right here and we joke round with our academics. They deal with us…. It’s a bit like a household.”
Beneath jail rules, inmates can solely be recognized by their initials.
M.S. has about one other two years to go after serving 31 months for theft, theft and beatings. He is aware of his prison document has dashed his dream of instructing literature, however he made it into college and is now learning pictures and visible arts.
Having graduated from highschool, he doesn’t want to look at Making an attempt TV, however he has adopted a category on making purses out of journal paper and tape “as a result of I am keen on handicrafts and stuff. It provides me concepts.” He says the TV channel has turn into fairly common.
“You run out of (cigarette) filters and also you go into the subsequent cell to ask for a filter, and also you see 5 massive guys battling with their little paper strips making an attempt to make purses,” he stated. “You then go to the subsequent cell later, and somebody’s making an attempt to resolve an equation.”
As soon as the pandemic is over, Damianos wish to develop the channel to incorporate documentaries and different worthwhile applications. However whereas it is plugging a gap in schooling and sustaining contacts between college students and academics, he stresses that televised classes can’t ship what in-person lessons do.
“Let’s be sincere, the channel can’t exchange the schooling that takes place in class,” Damianos stated. “It is vitally necessary, nevertheless it’s not sufficient.”
“One Good Factor” is a collection that highlights people whose actions present glimmers of pleasure in laborious occasions — tales of people that discover a technique to make a distinction, regardless of how small. Learn the tales at https://apnews.com/hub/one-good-thing
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