Warning to Private schools against charging security fee

Private schools warned against charging security fee
Lahore, Oct 28: Secretary Schools Education Department Muhammad Aslam Kamboh has said that no private school will be allowed to increase fee in the name of security.

According to a DGPR handout on Tuesday, he stated this during a meeting with the owners of private schools here on Tuesday.

Lahore DCO Sajjad Ahmed Bhutta chaired the meeting while Higher Education Secretary Ahad Khan Cheema, EDO Education Dr Muhammad Arshad and other officials were also present.

Speaking on the occasion, the Lahore district coordination officer said all the schools that would not follow the government's instructions regarding security arrangements within the prescribed timeframe would be closed down.

He said if availability of walk-through gates was not possible on an urgent basis, the schools must ensure provision of metal detectors to their security guards.

The statement said the owners of private schools also assured that no extra fee would be charged in connection with security arrangements.

Private schools demanded government security
Lahore: Associations of private schools have criticised the Punjab government for not fulfilling, what they believe, its responsibility to provide security to their students.

During a press conference at the Lahore Press Club here on Tuesday, the representatives of private schools associations demanded the government provide security to all the students, warning that, otherwise, a protest campaign would be launched against the government. They denied the reports about collection of security fee from students by private schools, stating that any school, if found charging students any such free, would be closed down by the joint forum of private schools association.

Besides representatives of the All Pakistan Private Schools Management Association (APPSMA) and All Pakistan Private Schools Welfare Association (APPSWA), the members of a number of other associations also spoke on the occasion.

APPSWA President Syed Zulqarnain Shah said 96 percent of private schools were charging a meagre fee from students while rest of the four percent were catering to the needs of the elite class students only. He said most of the 96 percent schools were operating in rented buildings and were charging monthly fee from Rs 50 to Rs 1,000.

He said "It is impossible for such private schools to arrange security guards and other security equipments while the owners of school buildings are also reluctant to allow schools management to construct security walls." Zulqarnain Shah further said private schools were being closed down by the government through police, alleging: "We are being harassed by police too."

"The whole situation is also causing great loss to students as far as academic activities are concerned," he said and added that installation of walk-through gates and CCTV cameras could only be afforded by elite private schools which were charging heavy fee from the students. He said the students of private schools were also Pakistanis, therefore, the government should provide them security.

APPSMA President Adeeb Jawadani said the government had imposed different kinds of taxes on private schools and now it was denying security to their students. He said CCTV cameras and metal detectors were short in the market while their prices had also increased because of increasing demand.

Jawadani said "If the government announces provision of security for private schools within 10 days, they are ready to close down schools for that particular period." He also said: "How one or two security guards can resist trained terrorists?"

He said it was a matter of serious concern that how the government would ensure security during the upcoming class 5th and 8th exams to be held across the province.

Another speaker said Punjab Minister for Education Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman had himself said in a TV interview the other day that private schools could collect security fee from students if they considered it appropriate for ensuring the maximum security arrangements.

Interestingly, Schools Secretary Aslam Kamboh on Tuesday announced that no private school would be allowed to collect security fee from students.

The private schools associations also unanimously announced boycotting the class 5th and class 8th examinations, saying uniform exams at these levels were not possible without uniformity in syllabus, followed by private and public sector schools. The news

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Educational institutions unaware of security limitations
Lahore: Government and private educational institutions are scrambling to purchase security technology - such as walkthrough scanners, metal detectors and CCTV cameras - in light of the Punjab governmentnt's security guidelines, but are unaware of the limitations of this equipment.

The government and security agencies have asked the school administrations to install security apparatus at their campuses without bothering to check the quality of these appliances despite the lives of hundreds of students and staff depending on this equipment.

A salesman working at a security equipment shop on Hall Road said there was a large variation in the prices and capability of the security devices available. He said most customers were buying middle and lower grade security equipment and concentrating on purchasing CCTV cameras and metal detectors despite these devices lacking the capability to trace explosives and other sophisticated weaponry. He said the handheld metal detectors and CCTV cameras were being imported from China and Taiwan, while walkthrough gates were being imported from Western countries.

"We are facing an acute shortage of walkthrough gates due to the increase in their demand after the terror attack on the university in Islamabad. The customers seeking the gates and other security equipment have to stand in queues at our shop to buy the devices but those seeking the gates have to wait at least a week before the device is delivered," he added. "Despite the popularity of the walkthrough gates, most of them lack the capability to trace explosives and would not register any abnormality if the terrorist was not carrying any metal. The most expensive walkthrough gates have the capability to track explosives but customers rarely purchase extremely expensive devices," he added.

Security technology expert and former project manager of E-Government Directorate from the Ministry of Information Technology Noman Ahmed Shah said that high calibre, military grade walkthrough gates could be purchased for anywhere from Rs 5 million to Rs 300 million. He said only security agencies and high profile organisations would consider spending so much money, adding most educational institutions were only buying the middle and low-grade equipment. "The middle grade security equipment can easily be cheated. One can easily carry the raw explosives into a campus and use a mobile phone to detonate them without any of the abovementioned technology being helpful," he added. Daily times

Security for schools
Lahore: The threat of terrorist attacks on educational institutions and the recent week-long closure of the latter are worrying signs that the security situation in the country is unlikely to improve soon. In Lahore, the Punjab government allowed all educational institutions to reopen on Monday, claiming that campuses had been thoroughly checked for compliance with the newly prescribed security arrangements: fortified boundary walls, walk-through security gates, metal detectors and CCTV systems. Almost immediately, however, some 225 private schools were forced by the government to shut down again, because they had failed to beef up their security. A number of other schools were issued warnings. Major institutions, including the Forman Christian College, the National College of the Arts, the Lahore Grammar School, etc remained closed. This is a worrying situation; faculty and students alike will suffer greatly if academic schedules continue to be disrupted. Nevertheless, the government is right in insisting that schools and colleges implement adequate security measures to ward off terrorist attacks, for the uncertain situation in the country merits these.

Educational institutions must not drag their heels over the requirements, and must also desist as far as possible from passing on the expense of increasing security to the parents of their students. There are already reports of some schools having sent out such notices. The burden of meeting the security requirements must lie upon the shoulders of school administrations and the state that can help by stepping up patrols and setting up an effective communication system between school administrators and the law-enforcement agencies. Meanwhile, it is also practical to make students aware of the threat and of ways to counter it. Without pressing the panic button, school administrations must urge students to report the presence of strangers on campus or persons exhibiting suspicious behaviour. Emergency drills, including evacuation in the case of a terrorist attack or threat, must also be carried out at regular intervals. The provincial government, meanwhile, must keep in mind that public-sector and smaller, private educational institutions are also under threat. It is incumbent upon the state to provide as much security as possible to all educational centres without discrimination.

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Attendance in schools remained thin
Lahore: Attendance remained thin in most schools on Tuesday amid contradictory reports about security measures.

Some parents said that their children informed them that the attendance in their schools had further reduced on Tuesday.

Most schools, which were closed on Monday for ensuring effective security measures, continued to enhance security by fortifying their boundary walls and making available other gadgets. Dawn

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GCU announced MSc result
Lahore: Examination Department of Government College University (GCU) Lahore declared result of MSc Industrial Chemistry on Tuesday. A press release said the final examinations results were announced on the basis of total marks obtained by the students in I, II, III, and IV semesters. All the 37 students appeared in the examination were declared pass. Hina Saleem bagged first.

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PU diploma results
Lahore: The examinations department of the Punjab University has declared the result of Postgraduate Diploma in International Affairs, Examinations 2008. The pass percentage in the exam remained 22.81. Detailed result is available at PU website www.pu.edu.pk.

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PPSC cleared 385 candidates
Lahore: Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) has cleared 385 candidates for interview after a written test for recruitment to 135 posts, five posts reserved for disabled persons, of assistant district attorney (BS-17) in the Law, Parliamentary Affairs and Human Rights Department. The details of candidates cleared for interview are available at the Commission's website www.ppsc.gop.pk

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Minister visits PU centre
Lahore: Minister of State for Education Ghulam Farid Kathia visited the Punjab University Centre of Excellence in Molecular Biology (CEMB) on Tuesday. The CEMB Director Prof Dr Muhammad Amin Athar presented progress report of the Centre to the minister. He said that the Centre was working on various projects such as BT cotton, DNA diagnostics, bio pharmaceuticals, DNA forensics, stem cell technology and genetic diseases. The minister also visited various laboratories there and was taken to fields of BT cotton too. He appreciated the progress made in the area and urged for progress in area of health.

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UVAS awarded PhD
Lahore: The University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore, has awarded a PhD degree to M Yasser Mustafa Butt. The news

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High School demolition
Lahore: Lahore High Court Chief Justice Khawaja Muhammad Sharif on Tuesday restrained the Punjab government from demolishing Chishtia Model High School behind the Civil Secretariat. The CJ issued the order while hearing suo mottu notice. The Punjab Chief Secretary and the additional advocate general also were present. The court sought a detailed written reply from Chief Secretary Javed Mehmood in the matter till November 3. APP

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