PESHAWAR, July 29: The provincial elementary and secondary education department has not declared civil defence training compulsory in educational institutions despite repeated requests of Civil Defence Directorate Islamabad, according to sources.

In the light of a resolution adopted by National Assembly on Nov 1, 2005, the Civil Defence Directorate has been asking the provincial government and education department to introduce civil defence training at secondary level in the high schools.

However, sources said that neither the provincial government nor the education department had taken it seriously.

Through the resolution, the parliamentarians had demanded of the government to declare three-month civil defence training compulsory in the educational institutions.

The resolution, adopted by National Assembly soon after the devastating earthquake in 2005, was aimed at preparing youth for coping with natural and man-made disasters including earthquake, floods and terrorism, revealed a copy of the resolution available with Dawn. It said that 10 additional marks should be awarded to the students for undergoing the training.

The civil defence department had already designed a curriculum of different rescue trainings to be imparted to the students during three months at secondary level, officials in Civil Defence Directorate, Peshawar told Dawn.

Like other regular subjects, a period of time would be specified during school hours wherein an expert on civil defence would educate the students on how to respond to calamities and disasters.

During the training, main focus would be on firefighting, rescue services, casualty service and first aid etc, they said. The students would also be trained about rescuing victims in other incidents happening in day-to-day life including electrocution, traffic accidents, drowning in water and fire eruption, they added.

A few years ago, the directorate general civil defence Islamabad had also requested the home department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to ask the education department regarding introduction of civil defence training in schools but in vain, officials said.

Provincial Deputy Director Civil Defence Shamshir Ali, when contacted, said that volunteers would be available at street level almost everywhere in the province if civil defence training was made compulsory in schools. All trained students would not only be involved in rescue work but they would also share their knowledge with people in their surroundings, he said.

“Currently we have squads of 100 to 200 rescuers working voluntarily in each district and we call them whenever they are needed,” he said, adding the number could be raised to thousands after implementing the resolution of the National Assembly.

In a letter issued a month ago, the Civil Defence Directorate of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had directed all its branches at district level and district coordination officers (DCOs) to raise the issue with the respective EDOs education to implement the resolution in letter and spirit.

Elementary and Secondary Education Secretary Humayoun Khan was not available for comments. However, Elementary and Secondary Education Director Rafiq Khattak praised the idea saying they would support it if comments were sought from the directorate of education.

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