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Punjab government permission to reopen educational institutions

Reopening of Lahore educational institutions
Lahore, Oct 26: The Punjab government has decided that all educational institutions in the province will reopen on Monday (today).

According to a handout issued on Sunday, a spokesman for the Punjab government said that the permission to reopen educational institutions was conditional on adequate security arrangements. He said educational institutions failing to comply with conditions laid down by the Punjab government would be closed again.

Meanwhile, the Punjab government has constituted inspection teams at provincial, district and tehsil levels to review security arrangements at educational institutions.

The GC University will be reopen on Monday (today), said a press release issued on Sunday.

The university has issued a notification after the Punjab government's approval.

The University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore, will restart academic activities on Monday (today) after a four-day closure prompted by security concerns

According to a press release issued on Sunday, the decision was made after the meeting of UVAS Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Nawaz with Governor/Chancellor Salman Taseer.

The registrar of the University, Dr Kamran Ashraf, had said that all other three campuses including Ravi Campus Pattoki, ART Centre Ferozepur and CVAS, Jhang will also start academic activities on Monday. The news

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Campuses with poor security will be closed again
Lahore: The Punjab government is allowing reopening of all educational institutions from Monday (today) after claiming that the prescribed security arrangements have been thoroughly checked on almost every campus and those not taking the measures will be closed again.

A few 'A-category' educational institutions were on Sunday evening given 48 hours to fill up loopholes in their security arrangements while permitting their reopening under a watchful eye of police and other law enforcement agencies, officials informed.

An official statement said the educational institutions not adopting the security measures despite repeated warnings would again be closed down.

Chief Secretary Javaid Mehmood said the government would continue to monitor security of educational institutions and would close down those not meeting the required standards after the grace period of a few days. The monitoring would remain intact to keep the educational institutions under pressure with regard to permanently maintaining the required security arrangements, he said.

He said nearly 80 per cent educational institutions in Lahore had followed government's security instructions, and the rest were being made to follow the suit.

A number of parents who contacted by telephone, nevertheless, said they would send their children to schools only after personally checking whether they had adopted the required security measures or not. "I will personally check whether the school is secured for my children or not," a caller said.

The security arrangements for educational institutions included fortifying the boundary walls and installing razor wires on them, ensuring single entry and exit points under strict control, using metal detectors and installing walk-through security gates and CCTV cameras and sensitising drivers and conductors of their buses on being alert during travel.

Lahore Commissioner Khusro Pervaiz Khan said the government finally reviewed the security arrangements made by the managements of educational institutions and law enforcement agencies on Sunday to ensure their safety after they reopen on Monday.

There were reports that educational institutions in Chakwal would remain closed for another week, but the provincial education secretary (schools) said there was no such direction from Punjab government.

Meanwhile, the Punjab government constituted inspection teams at provincial, district and tehsil levels for permanently reviewing security arrangements at educational institutions.

It has already warned heads of educational institutions and SPs concerned that they would be held responsible in case of any mishap.

In Lahore, managements of at least three private schools contacted the parents of their students, asking them to submit copies of their national identity cards and two latest pictures of the children by Tuesday. They were also asked to produce their original identity cards for the verification of the photocopies which would be forwarded to police for record.

It was stated that the pictures were being sought for issuing fresh identity cards to the schoolchildren. Dawn

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Parents, civil society differ on decision to reopen schools
Lahore: Parents of students and members of civil society have expressed differing opinions on the Punjab Government's decision to reopen educational institutions, with parents claiming the security crisis has not been averted and civil society demanding schools stay open in a symbol of defiance against the terror attacks.

Criticising the move to reopen government and private schools and colleges on Monday, parents of students claimed that no security measures were sufficient to completely prevent the threat of terror attacks against education institutions. They said that if the terrorists could stage attacks on military installations, they could easily bypass the security at educational institutions.

Some parents claimed they were confident that the school administration would have sufficient security to protect their children. However, most parents expressed fear and confusion, with many considering keeping their children home from school until the military operation in South Waziristan had been completed. Commenting on the issue, Shama Hussain the mother of a young student said it would be better to keep the educational institutions closed for a few more days, rather than reopening them without properly rooting out the terrorists. She said she would not send her son to school because she did not believe in the security measures taken by the government. She said the government should not reopen the educational institutions until the military operation had concluded.

Zahid Hussain, an A-Levels student, said the new security measures would make the campus far more secure. However, he added, some of his teachers believed it was an uphill task and terrorists with the capability of attacking military installations could easily attack the school. He claimed teachers at most key educational institutions believed the current measures were not sufficient to assure protection from terror attacks. Muslim Iqbal, the student of an elite university of the city, said the youth of society did not fear extremists or terrorists and were more concerned about their education. He said that while his parents were still afraid of the law and order situation in the country, he and his friends were confident that the security measures would be sufficient. Ahsan Waqqar, a 14-year-old attending one of the more secure private schools of the city, said he was afraid the terrorists would attack his school and would prefer to stay at home for a few more days.

Meanwhile, prominent human rights activist Hina Jillani appreciated the government's decision to reopen the schools, colleges and universities in the country. She said that while the threats of terror attacks had not been removed, it was not suitable for the educational institutes of the country to remain closed for an extended period of time. She said all the educational institutes should remain open to show a collective resistance against extremism. Daily times

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Security drill for school guards
Dera Ghazi Khan: Around 1,500 guards of private and government schools were imparted civil-defence training at the District Police Lines here on Sunday.

Apprehending terrorists' backlash in the wake of military operation in South Waziristan, the Punjab government had directed all district governments to ensure the security of educational institutions.

The government also directed the school managements to raise their boundary walls up to 8 feet high and get their peons and guards trained in civil-defence.

During the one-day session, the police officials imparted basic anti-terror training to the school staff.

The Police Educator School, Army Public School, City School, Bloomfield School and AIMS will open in November while Divisional Public School will open on Oct 28. However, other government schools will open on Monday (today). Dawn

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