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Varsities, colleges to reopen only if they’re secure

December 23, 2014


Security forces personnel at a road near the Army Public School, Peshawar. — Reuters/File
Security forces personnel at a road near the Army Public School, Peshawar. — Reuters/File

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa higher education department has issued security guidelines to government colleges and universities across the province asking them not to reopen campuses at the end of the ongoing winter vacation until proper security checks are in place.

The higher educational institutions were also told to consult their respective district police officers and deputy commissioners before reopening the campuses.

Also read: After Peshawar: Reassessing the terror threat

The security guidelines were issued in light of the December 16 Taliban attack on Army Public School and College, Peshawar, which left 141, including 132 children, dead.

According to the officials in the know, the department has asked universities and colleges in the guidelines to restrict the movement of visitors to the administration block only and stop them from visiting academic blocks.

They’re also told to evict those, who are not their own students, from hostels.

KP dept issues security guidelines to higher educational institutions

Under the guidelines, the department called for thorough examination of vehicles entering educational institutions.

“The guards at (college and university) gates should secure detailed information about visitors and vehicle drivers before allowing them to enter the premises. Entry to the premises should be allowed only after guards are completely satisfied that visitors are not dangerous.”

The department also directed colleges and universities to increase the number of security guards manning main gates.

It said the colleges should use funds for providing students with the best possible security on campus.

Ironically, the elementary and secondary education department has yet to issue fresh guidelines for the security of the students of 28,500 government schools.

Elementary and secondary education department director Rafiq Khattak told Dawn that schools of the province followed the standard operating procedure issued in 2009 on how to deal with security issues.

He said schools were closed for winter vacation until the end of December.

Khattak said the police and home department were jointly preparing a plan for the security of schools across the province.

Meanwhile, no government department has issued any security directives to private educational institutions of the province.

Administratively, private schools totaling around 7,000 are overseen by the respective educational boards.

Officials at the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education Peshawar insisted they were tasked only with supervising private schools academically.

They said it was the responsibility of law-enforcement agencies to consult with private schools to ensure their security.

When contacted, Private Educational Institution Management Association president Khwaja Yawar Naseer said the association had decided that big schools won’t hold morning assembly.

He said many private educational institutions had already deployed security guards on campus in good number besides installing closed-circuit television cameras to counter terrorist threats.

Naseer insisted it was the state’s responsibility to provide schools with security.

Published in Dawn, December 23rd, 2014