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Prison to PhD: How Akpabio bagged doctorate degree in jail

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Stephen Akpabio-Klementowski an ex-convict went to jail with no qualification but studied to PhD level in prison and is now a lecturer.

Akpabio-Klementowski’s story has been spotlighted by International British media, BBC in a series done in partnership with The Open University.

In a video shared by BBC, the university lecturer tells the extraordinary tale of how he transformed his life through education.

According to him, growing up, life was not rosy as he lost his father when he was still a teenager and chose the wrong path by venturing into drug-dealing.

He was sentenced to 16 years in prison for the crime.

However, by the time he left prison, he had completed his first degree and two further degrees, including a doctorate.

Akpabio-Klementowski recalled the challenges faced in a bid to turn his life around. For example, he left school with no qualifications. But his determination and love for learning kept him going.

Speaking further, he said the opinions of other prisoners and guards who felt that he was wasting his time and that “studying won’t matter with his criminal record” did not deter him.

Now a Lecturer of Criminology at the Open University, he works with students in prisons and tells them they too can turn their lives around.

“The word “prisoner” is just a label. I found my freedom within my own mind,” he said.

He believes that “everyone has the potential and power to change” and that freedom comes from the mind.

The PhD holder also hopes that the government’s help in providing more opportunities for education to prisoners will help them find a different path because according to him, research shows that education reduces reoffending and allows former prisoners to make different choices.


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