Reopening of Lahore schools with light attendance

Schools reopened with heavy security, light attendance
Lahore, Oct 27: The vast majority of schools, colleges and universities of the city reopened on Monday with increased security in compliance with government instructions. However, despite reassurances from school administrations, attendance at the schools remained light in all private and public schools.

Teaching staff at various educational institutions informed that a majority of college and graduate-level students had returned to school. However, they added, the majority of schoolchildren had not shown up for the first day of classes on Monday. In compliance with the stricter security measures, all students, teachers and janitorial staff members were required to display their identification before entering any institution. Police were also deployed at the main entrances of the institutions to ensure security.

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More trouble for teachers, students
Lahore: The government also directed all institutions to allocate parking lots a distance from the academic buildings, causing difficulties for teachers, students and visitors. Some of the students criticised the new setup, saying it wasted time. As part of its security measures, the Punjab University prevented students from driving in the campus, directing them to park in three main parking lots in the New Campus. The students were then transported to their respective departments via "shuttle buses", which were running inside the campus. Meanwhile, parents dropping off their children also faced difficulties and criticised the new setup at the varsity.

The increased security at Kinnaird College (KC), meanwhile, resulted in several students facing problems entering the institution, as only one gate was equipped with a scanner. The KC administration has also banned students from driving their vehicles inside the college. Studies at the Government College University (GCU), meanwhile, resumed as per normal, with the administration claiming that it had introduced all the security measures required by the government. A university spokesman said a large number of students had resumed classes. He said the government had deputed six policemen at the main gates of the university.

The University of Health Sciences and the University of Engineering and Technology, meanwhile, resumed their educational session under tight security and a vast majority of the students returned to class. The administrations of these universities said they had made foolproof security arrangements and erected barriers at their exit and entry points to combat the deteriorating law and order situation.

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Some educational institutions remained closed
Lahore: Some prominent educational institutions, meanwhile, remained closed in order to bring their campuses in line with the government's required security measures. The National College of Arts (NCA) announced it would reopen from November 2, while the Forman Christian College University (FCCU) has announced that it would resume its academic session from Thursday after it had increased the height of its boundary wall. Meanwhile, classes at St Anthony's High School would resume from today (Tuesday) and the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) would reopen on Wednesday. Daily times

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School, colleges bustle with activity
Lahore : Academic activity resurfaced to life and institutions revisited the usual hustle and bustle after a standstill of four days when all educational institutions were closed down in the wake of reports of security threats. The district administration had laid down strict security conditions after consultation with the law enforcement agencies and the Home department.

The educational institutions have been asked to follow the following measures:- "The institutions would raise the boundary walls to eight feet height, deploy armed security guards at the gates, install concrete, iron barriers at the entrance and exit, CCTV cameras, check the visitors with metal detectors and maintain record of the visitors in the institutions. Special category (Elite) institutions have been asked to install walk-through gates at the entrance as a precautionary measure".

The DCO Lahore had earlier banned the administration of the institutions to operate their buses and vans on the city routes but the decision was later withdrawn on the intervention of the Chief Minister Punjab Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif. Director Administration, Unique Schools and Colleges, Mian Rehan Saleem said that the buses fleet plied on the routes to pick and drop students as usual. About the security arrangements he said, " We have fulfilled all the conditions in all our institutions laid down by the government and are in close contact with the police authorities in the area". Mrs. Shaista Ishaq, Principal Unique College for Girls said that the student attendance remained 90 percent which is a very positive sign on the first day of the reopening of the institutions.

The Education Department had constituted different inspection teams to monitor the security arrangements in the city. The teams closed down various schools in different parts of the city which failed to comply with the conditions laid down by the Punjab government. EDO Lahore Dr Muhammad Arshid said that no public and private sectors' institution has been closed down. He said that the schools which were unable to meet the security arrangements did not open their institutions voluntarily. He said that he himself visited the schools and was happy to see that 75 percent students were present in the classes. Director Public Instructions Colleges (DPIC) Punjab Abdul Razaq Cheema said that a committee comprising DPO, DEO and Principal have been constituted to ensure 100 percent security in the public and private sectors' colleges.

According to the feedback, he said that 100 % security has been ensured in some colleges while the rest of the colleges could ensure only partial security arrangements. He said that some colleges span an area of 25 acre and it would take some time to erect eight feet hight boundary wall around such colleges. DPIC said that the colleges which did not comply with the instructions have been asked to close down their institutions and they would be allowed to open it as soon as they meet the security requirements. Punjab College administration has announced to close down its institutions till November 2 as the security arrangements were not upto the mark. APP

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Educational institutions must comply with govt instructions
Lahore: All educational institutions are bound to make security arrangements in accordance with the rules and regulations set by the government and action will be taken against institutions that fail to comply with these instructions, Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Shahbaz Sharif said on Monday.

He was reviewing the security arrangements at educational institutions in a high-level meeting at the CM's Secretariat. The meeting decided that special teams comprising the provincial ministers and senior officers would check security arrangements at schools, while the Civil Defence Department would be activated again. It also decided that special committees would be formed at the local level to maintain law and order and eliminate terrorism. Similarly, community policing would be promoted to check suspicious elements.

It was decided that heads of educational institutions would have to ensure ample security at campuses by issuing a certificate to police and the administration.

The CM said the government had utilised all its resources to fight terrorism, besides undertaking the capacity building of law-enforcement agencies to safeguard the life and property of citizens. He said all educational institutions had been reopened in the province and now the schools' administrations were responsible for maintaining foolproof security at campuses.

Also on Monday, Shahbaz signed an agreement with a Chinese company to complete the Lahore Ring Road and the Rawalpindi Expressway projects, saying both the projects were pivotal for country's progress. He was talking to a delegation of the China State Construction and Engineering Company led by its Overseas Department Vice President Wang Li. The meeting discussed possible cooperation in various projects. The CM said Pakistan and China enjoyed friendly relations and the latter has always helped Pakistan's progress and development.

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Parents demanded government to increase security
Lahore: Criticising the lax security arrangements at schools in the city, parents of schoolchildren have demanded the government provide security for the educational institutions instead of shutting them down.

Parents of children studying in various institutions said they paid taxes and it was the government's responsibility to safeguard the lives of civilians. They said they would not send their children to school until the security measures had been improved. "I did not send my children to school, as there were no proper security arrangements," said one mother, Farrukh Altaf. She said the government had failed to ensure security for the educational institutions, adding the management of her children's school had not taken any precautionary measures. "There were no walkthrough gates, metal detectors or CCTV cameras so I decided not to send my children," she added.

Tariq Mahmood, a concerned father, said he had taken his children to school on Monday morning but had turned back when he saw the lack of security arrangements. He said the security guard deputed at the school gate had no metal detector, nor was there any walkthrough gate. "The government has already failed to provide basic necessities and now it is helpless to provide security to children," he added. Meanwhile, the fear of suicide attacks has also worried the students themselves. Nasir Iqbal, the student at a private school, said he had been afraid of being attacked all day. "I saw the attack on the university in Islamabad on TV and it really scared me. I was terrified the whole day," he added. nauman tasleem.

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Most schools failed to meet security requirements
Lahore: More than 60 percent of the schools in the city have boundary walls shorter than the eight feet required by the provincial government, while a large number of schools lack proper security arrangements. The Punjab government has instructed school administrations to ensure proper security arrangements by constructing eight-foot-high boundary walls and installing CCTV cameras, barbed wires, walkthrough gates, metal detectors and scanners and deputing at least two armed security guards at the main entrance. However, school administrators said they did not have the budget to make these arrangements. "At least Rs 200,000 are required to make these arrangements," said All Pakistan Private School Owners Association and Joint Action Committee for Private Schools President Kashif Ali Mirza, adding the government had banned civilians from obtaining licences for weapons. "How can we arrange to arm our guards when we cannot obtain licences for them," he said, adding the government should provide security to the people and it was unfair of it to expect the schools to make security arrangements. Mirza claimed the government was terrifying people by issuing such orders. "The government schools do not have any boundary walls but they are allowed to operate while private schools are threatened," he said. He alleged that police officials were visiting private schools and threatening to have them shut down if they were not paid bribes. Daily times

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