KARACHI: After grenade attacks on a school and college on Friday, fear has gripped the city as parents and guardians have their concerns over sending their children to schools.
To make matters more complicated, there are schools that simply cannot afford to hire four security guards as per the government’s instructions. All Private Schools Management association, Sindh, chairperson Syed Khalid Shah spoke about such schools with The Express Tribune. “We have installed cameras and gates and built boundary walls for many schools in the last one year,” he said. “But [the] government should also specify some budget to be spent on the security of schools. We will provide the list of the schools that cannot afford to deploy guards in their limited resources to the government.” He added that they have discussed these plans with the governor, education secretary, commissioner and Rangers officials.
Meanwhile, education secretary Fazlullah Pechuho said that the security plan is in place and the government is doing its part to provide security to schools across the province. He also told The Express Tribune that police and Rangers are working day and night to make the schools secure and the education department has shared the standard operating procedures, too. “Talks are in process to integrate the education department’s SMS complaint service ‘ILMI’ with the Rangers so that students and parents can complain and ask about security concerns on messages also,” he revealed.
Shah said that they have tried to make the schools secure by building heightened boundary walls, installing cameras and secured gates at the schools in the last one year after the Army Public School attack in Peshawar. “To provide security to schools is the government’s responsibility but we are also working hand in hand with the government,” he added. According to him, the main problem is the security of those schools who charge low fee as they cannot afford four guards as per the government’s demands.
Meanwhile, after 15 days of providing security to the students, Karachi University (KU) removed the walkthrough gates placed at the entrance of the varsity, in view of the security threats. Each walkthrough gate was costing Rs5,000 per day to the university, which is why they returned those to the private security companies they procured them from, said campus security adviser Dr Muhammad Zubair, adding that the university will buy its own gates now. He also told The Express Tribune that the walkthrough gates were not working properly, adding that anyone is welcome to donate if they want to.
After the media reported his statement, Jafaria Disaster Cell (JDC) welfare organisation offered free-of-charge walkthrough gates, metal detectors and jammers for the university to tighten security measures. JDC joint secretary Zafar Abbas said that they have a meeting with the KU registrar on Monday in which they will finalise the security measures needed by the varsity. Meanwhile, The Educators school in Block-A, North Nazimabad, which was attacked by a grenade on Friday, will reopen on Monday, confirmed the spokesperson of the school.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 14th, 2016.