Lives of school children at risk

Lahore Development Authority placed barriers in front of schools
Lahore, Oct 29: The Lahore Development Authority (LDA) has placed the lives of students at risk by barring the administrations of several schools, especially those situated in upscale areas, from placing barriers on the main roads opening on the entrances of the institutions.

The administrations of the educational institutions said that the City District Government of Lahore (CDGL) had informed them that they could block the entrance points to maintain smooth traffic flow to and from the campus and ensure that no terrorists could come close to the school buildings. Meanwhile, LDA officials said the department had denied schools the right to bar roads on the request of local residents, who had claimed this move would severely restrain their freedom of movement. They said the residents had claimed that the presence of schools in residential localities was a security risk for the whole community.

The administrator of one of the most prominent schools of the country informed that the government and LDA authorities wanted the school administrations to take full responsibility, and thus full blame, for the security of their institutions. "They want us to install all the security measures and equipment on our own. They want us to take blame for any untoward incidents if any ever takes place in a situation where even our key security institutions are not immune to the terror attacks. Yet they refuse to allow us the luxury of shutting down the main roads for less than an hour a day," he said, adding Lahore District Coordination Officer Sajjad Ahmed Bhutta had already agreed upon the point.

The administrator said the school administrations could oversee the safety of their charges more easily if the adjoining streets could be shut down for a few minutes during the opening and closing timings of the schools. He said the current situation made it very easy for terrorists to target children.

Meanwhile, the parents of schoolchildren criticised the LDA's decision in light of the prevailing security situation. They said the LDA and the CDGL would be responsible for any loss of life or untoward incident. "I will definitely blame the government for putting the life of my child at risk and refusing to accommodate the schools for even a few minutes because of traffic jams," Ali Abbas, the father of one girl, said.

However, local residents claim the LDA made the correct decision. Muhammad Saleh and Jahangir, two residents of a road adjoining a major school informed that they were sick and tired of the nuisance caused by the private school. They said shutting down the main street for any length of time would paralyse their mobility in their own localities. They said that government should think about moving the schools under threat to less densely populated areas, adding action should be taken against the officials who have allowed schools to be constructed in residential areas.

The LDA director general and the department's spokesman declined to comment on the issue despite multiple requests. However, LDA State Management Branch-I Director Ahmad Aziz said that while the department could not issue any formal notification on the matter, it had verbally informed the school administrations that they could close the main roads during the opening and closing timings. He said the department was under pressure from citizens against blocking the street, but was aware the safety of schoolchildren was their first priority. He said this was a temporary arrangement and things would return to normal once the threat of terrorism had been eliminated.

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Punjab university, 17 schools to be shut down for security reasons
Lahore: The District Administration of Lahore has ordered that 17 government schools in different areas of Lahore and the Punjab University be shut down for security reasons, a private TV channel reported on Wednesday. According to the channel, the district administration authorities ordered to close down Government Muslim Model High School Urdu Bazaar, Govt Victoria High School, Govt Saleem Model High School, Govt Girls' Higher Secondary School Ravi Road, Govt Chishtia Girls' High School, Cathedral High School Anarkali, Anthony High School Lawrence Road, Govt Central Model School Lower Mall, Saint Francis High School Anarkali and Sacred Heart Girls' High School Temple Road, among others. daily times

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Education centres near GCU to remain shut
Lahore: In view of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to the Government College University, the Punjab government has ordered closure of all educational institutions situated around the GCU on Thursday (today).

It is learnt that the Punjab University, National College of Arts, Government Islamia College Civil Lines, Government Central Model High School (Lower Mall), Government Saleem Model High School (Lower Mall), Government Muslim High School (Khazana Gate), Government Education College, a middle school behind SSP office and some other institutions located near the GCU have been closed for Thursday.

The Punjab University, which had to close its Old Campus on the Mall, announced a holiday for its New Campus as well.

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Posh schools closed for poor security
Faisalabad: The district administration forced on Wednesday the administration of 44 posh schools and two colleges to close their institutions for insufficient security.

The administration also warned the Government Girls College, Madina Town, administration to raise the boundary wall of the institution from five feet to eight feet.

Last week, the government had asked 54 'A' category schools to ensure security measure on an emergency basis. All of them were allowed to resume their affairs on Monday. Finding security measures insufficient, education officials closed 10 schools on Tuesday and the remaining 44 on Wednesday.

Executive District Officer-education Sohaib Imran said the district administration would cancel the registration of schools not following the government instructions to protect their students. He said most of the educational institutions had not met the security-related instructions which included installation of walk-through gates and CCTV cameras on campuses or raise boundary walls and blast walls.

He said meetings with such institutions were on to pursue them to make security arrangements on an emergency basis.

Sources said on Oct 21, District Coordination Officer (DCO) Saeed Iqbal had asked the management of educational institutes to raise the height of boundary walls and erect safety fences besides arranging walkthrough gates, mettle detectors and CCTV cameras on campuses.

Participants in the meeting also reviewed the uplift of the Faisalabad Institute of Cardiology, setting up of a girls college in Samanabad and establishment of Polytechnic Institute in Millat Town. Dawn

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