Private schools closure due to security dilemma
Security dilemma keeps schools closed
Islamabad, Oct 30: Put in a dilemma by the local authorities' 'arrange your own
security or close' order, several private schools and institutes in the twin
cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi have opted for the latter – at least for the
It is a tall order. Even the big names in the commercialised
education sector say it is a costly affair to install walk-through gates, CCTV
surveillance system and deploy armed guards at their premises to protect their
Private schools with low budgets find themselves in bigger
It has been learnt that the management of the Froebel's School
System has closed its schools until Eidul Azha holidays that fall in November.
Beaconhouse and City schools were to open on Thursday but were closed
until Sunday after their managements received orders from the Islamabad
administration to arrange the prescribed security measures.
government-run schools and colleges are open, apparently because, unlike the
private institutions, the government cannot abdicate its duty to protect its own
An official press release issued on Thursday said the
Islamabad administration and police have held a series of meetings with school
managements since October 27 "to guide them on taking effective security
measures" to protect their students, staff and buildings against terrorist
Educational institutions have been feeling insecure since
military-run schools were closed temporarily after the audacious terrorist
attack on the Army GHQ in Rawalpindi on October 10.
Their worst fears
became a reality ten days later when terrorists launched two attacks on the
International Islamic University in Islamabad, targeting its girl students in
particular. That caused all educational institutes – schools, colleges,
universities – across the country to close temporarily.
Islamabad and Rawalpindi were struggling to reopen this week when the
authorities' strange order to them to arrange their own security forced them to
keep their doors shut on the thousands upon thousands of students.
official of the Private Schools Association of Islamabad who attended Thursday's
meeting with the local administration said that most of its member schools were
reluctant to resume classes as they were unable to meet the security standards
set by the administration and police, and so felt vulnerable to terrorist
Its guidelines, prepared by the special branch of police, wish
schools "to function freely" but adhere strictly to the security standards. One
designated faculty member should keep liaison with the local police on security
These guidelines include verification of security guards
deployed at schools, stickers for school vehicles and office cards for the
employees. It also advises that school boundary walls be minimum eight feet
Arms licences were promised to all owners of schools for security
purpose. Schools concentrated in one area should jointly arrange security. Walk
through gates will be mandatory for schools where student enrolment is over
1,000. Other schools will place scanners at entry points. The schools will also
install CCTV cameras.
These security arrangements would be monitored by
area police officer and magistrates.
A private school liaison committee
at district level has also been set up, headed by the ADC(G)ICT. Its members are
SP investigation, SDPO rural, DSP special branch, DSP Women, Faisal Mushtaq Root
School, Muhammad Akram Beaconhouse, Muhammad Anwar General Secretary Private
School Associations urban area, and Chaudhry Ilyas Mehrban, Chairman Private
School Associations rural area.
"The cost of walk-through gates ranges
between Rs25,000 to Rs300,000, without tax and duties. It is impossible for most
schools' administrations to bear such high expense. Similarly they have to bear
additional expenses on hiring private security guards, purchase of their weapons
and security cameras and raising boundary walls maximum eight feet," said the
office-bearer of PSA. Dawn
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PEIRA facilitates 40,000 private school students
Islamabad: The Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority
(PEIRA) has distributed free books and school bags among 40,000 students to give
them financial assistance with opportunities to continue their
PEIRA Chairman Atif Mahmood Kiani said the books were being
provided to those students of private schools who pay their monthly fee up to
Rs300 and follow government approved syllabus. Budget amounting of Rs8 million
has been allocated for the authority under which the books were published from
National Book Foundation, he said. "There is no possibility of any embezzlement
in the allotted amount as the authority is not supposed to receive money
directly," he told this agency here on Thursday.
"Books are published by
National Book Foundation (NBF), which hands over these to PEIRA with a clearly
printed instruction of 'not for sale' while the government directly pays
printing expenses to NBF," he remarked. PEIRA is a government organisation
working to ensure quality education in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) he
said. "The authority is working on several fronts to help educational
institutions of the private sector, giving them guidelines as per commitment to
ensure quality education for achieving national prosperity," he added.
said that next year the authority is suppose to receive a grant of Rs10 million,
adding, "It would help us accommodate more students and provide books to a large
number of pupils as compared to this year." Next year the books would be
provided to students who deposit their monthly fee up to Rs350 but, these books
are provided to schools, which follow government syllabus only, he
It is generally observed that majority of private schools did
not follow government syllabus in junior classes so the authority has decided
that it would provide only schools bags to students of those schools in junior
classes and students above class four would receive books from the
authority. The news
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IIUI denied campus closure, terror threats
Islamabad: The International Islamic University, Islamabad (IIUI),
has denied closing its campus and said it had received no terror threats. IIUI
President Dr Anwaar Hussain Siddiqui told reporters on Thursday that the
university had been functioning normally since its opening on October 26
(Monday). "All academic activities are going on peacefully.
Rumours of any
threats to the university or its closure are baseless and misleading," he said.
Siddiqui said apparently, a campaign had been begun by the 'terrorists'
supporters' to terrify the IIUI students, teachers and staff. "Miscreants are
misusing modern technology and Internet to spread false news and scary stories,"
he said. He said extraordinary measures had been taken for the safety of the
university and its students and staff members on campus and in hostels. The IIUI
president urged students and their parents to ignore rumours. Daily times
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