PESHAWAR: Though the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has announced the reopening of educational institutions in the province on Monday (Jan 12), most government and private schools are unlikely to carry out its security instructions due to unavailability of funds.
Until now, not a single penny has been released by the elementary and secondary education department to government schools for security measures on campus as directed by the government, official sources said on Friday.
The sources said the department had asked schools to use the Parent-Teacher Council funds, which were meant for minor repairs, for the implementation of security guidelines but the said funds were too little.
An office-bearer of the local private school association said during a recent meeting, most private schools except those for children of the elite categorically voiced their inability to afford the expenditure of the recommended security measures on the premises.
Noted security guidelines issued by the government for schools are raising of the height of boundary wall to 10-13 feet, fixing of barbed wire on boundary wall, installation of closed circuit television cameras and walkthrough gates, deployment of more guards, and provision of metal detectors to them.
“It is impossible for us to implement security guidelines as we have no funds for it,” the headmaster of a government high school told Dawn.
He said the education department had directed headmasters of schools to use the PTC funds for taking security measures.
“Only the raising of the height of boundary wall and installation of barbed wire on it cost Rs350,000 but my school’s PTC funds come to Rs150,000. Now tell me how I could carry out security guidelines with this limited PTC money,” he said.
A senior official in the education department said the school headmasters had been directed to use PTC funds for adopting strict security checks on the premises.
He said the collection of demands for funds from schools was underway.
The official said the department would provide funds to schools to effectively address terrorist threats.
Another official asked how the schools, which had already used the PTC funds on repairs, would follow the government’s security guidelines.
He said the government had directed private schools to increase the number of guards on the premises though currently, they had only one watchman each and that too without weapon.
“No one has raised the issue of the province’s around 5,000 government schools without boundary walls, which are more vulnerable to terrorist attacks,” he said.
When contacted, Private Educational Institutions Management Association president Khwaja Yawar Naseer said 90 per cent of the private schools were unable to follow security guidelines. He said installation of walkthrough gates, CCTV cameras and barbed wire, raising of boundary wall and purchase of metal detectors cost around Rs1 million and since the income of most private schools was very low, they couldn’t afford to put in place such security checks.
One of the office-bearers of the association insisted they were just cosmetic security measures, which couldn’t stop terrorists from attacking schools.
“It’s the responsibility of state security agencies to prevent terrorist attacks, so instead of shifting it to the administration of schools, they should fulfil own responsibility” he said.
The association’s office-bearer said most private schools charged less than Rs1,000 as monthly fee from students, who totaled less than 600, and therefore, they couldn’t spend Rs1 million on security measures.
Published in Dawn January 10th , 2014