Govt orders security audit of educational institutions

DEA sends memo to officials, urging safety measures at all schools


Ammar Sheikh February 20, 2017
Work at both stations to be replicated by police across Lahore. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

LAHORE: The Punjab government has asked departments to submit a security audit report after carrying out a review of educational institutions and ensure arrangements are up to the mark.

According to a memo sent by the District Education Authority (DEA) to all district education officers (DEOs) as well as the district officers of special education and literacy, officials were asked to ensure security at all institutions.

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Referring to earlier notifications and letters to this effect, it said earlier correspondence by the additional deputy commissioner and Punjab Chief Minister's Monitoring Force School Education Department director should be given immediate attention.

“I am directed by the authority to bring [this] to your kind notice, keeping in view the current wave of terrorism in the country, especially the suicide blast in Lahore on February 13, 2017. In this context, you are requested to make appropriate security measures [by] observing all SOPs issued by the School Education Department, Lahore as well as the home department already conveyed to you from time to time”.

The memo asked officials to tackle any security deficiency after reviewing arrangements. “You are further requested to rectify the security deficiencies in all institutions, implement SOPs and issue necessary directions to the heads of all public and privately managed schools under your administrative control.”

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The memo also asked officials for visual evidence to show security SOPs were fully implemented. “I am further directed by the authority to intimate you to send pictorial evidence regarding each security SOP through email on a daily basis to avoid any untoward incident/act of terrorism.” The memo asked officials to treat this as top priority assignment.

Earlier, the All Pakistan Private Schools Federation (APPSF) asked the government to provide security to private sector schools in the country. The APPSF said, “According to Articles 9 and 25 of the Constitution, it is the duty of the state and government to provide security to every citizen of Pakistan.” The APPSF said private schools had cooperated with the government to ensure implementation of security SOPs. “However, providing security itself was part of the government’s job and it must be ensured.”

Last month, the Punjab government decided to hire more than 4,000 guards for deployment at public schools in urban areas across the province after insistent demands of students’ parents.

The finance department had already approved the creation of 4,120 new posts in the BSP-1 scale on the proposal of the Punjab School Education Department (SED), according to a Punjab Finance Department notification.

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The department concurred to the creation of 4,120 posts of school guards through ‘schedule of new expenditure’ (SNE) for B-category schools, which are defined as schools in urban areas having 200 or more students.

The objective was to enhance security of schools on the condition that the respective district governments would bear their expenditures on their own, the finance department notification stated. This means the salary of the guards would be paid by the district governments via the newly established district education authorities.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 20th, 2017.

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