PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has announced the reopening of all educational institutions in the province on Jan 12.
It also asked schools, colleges and universities to strictly implement security plan.
The announcement was made by provincial information and culture minister Mushtaq Ahmed Ghani during a news conference at the Peshawar Press Club on Thursday evening.
The minister condemned the Dec 16 massacre of children at the Army Public School and College Peshawar and said the brutal act of the militants had badly impacted on the people’s lives.
Minister asks schools, colleges to strictly enforce security plan
He said winter vacation for educational institutions had been extended for security reasons but keeping in view the significance of the students’ precious time and their annual examinations after two months, the government had decided about the reopening of educational institutions in the province on Jan 2.
Ghani said the decision was made during a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pervez Khattak at the Chief Minister’s office in the day.
He said the further extension in winter vacation was not in the interest of the nation as terrorists also wanted to keep schools closed and thus, depriving children of education.
The minister urged all segments of society to play an active role for the restoration of peace by eliminating terrorism once and for all.
He said the police alone couldn’t ensure the security of educational institutions, including 10,352 schools for girls, 17,267 schools for boys, 201 government and 210 private colleges, and nine private and 19 government universities, where millions of students were enrolled.
Ghani said under the current delicate security situation, the existing 65,000 policemen were unable to protect all educational institutions and the only solution was to involve the local communities for it.
He said the community policing and watch and ward system was being introduced in the province and that under the system, the government would provide weapons and arms licences under certain conditions to private guards hired by the educational institutions.
The minister said guards would be given honorarium and that it would be mandatory for them to enrol their children at their respective schools.
“Every school will have at least three guards and several closed circuit television cameras. Every school bus will have two guards – one on rooftop and the other at the main gate at least to engage terrorists until the arrival of law enforcement agencies in case of an attack,” he said.
Ghani said every school charged students heavy fee and that the security plan’s implementation would not create problems for them.
He said meetings with relevant officials of the education department on the district, division and provincial levels had been held and that the parents and teachers had been sensitised to feel their responsibilities in this regard.
The minister said the department had told educational institutions to construct boundary walls and arrange razor wires around their premises.
He said the government had already completed legislation on security issues and that the relevant deputy commissioners would keep liaison with schools to ensure reasonable security in consultation with the management of schools and parents.
Ghani said unnecessary entry of people to the schools and colleges would be banned to avoid complications and that the officials of elementary education department in addition to others would monitor security arrangements there.
He warned that the relevant education board would cancel the affiliation of educational institutions not complying with the orders on security.
The minister said government schools had sufficient welfare funds to ensure security of students on campus.
He said around 1.5 million Afghan nationals both registered and unregistered lived in the province.
“If funds aren’t available for the repatriation of Afghans, they should be confined to refugee camps,” he said.
Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2015