ISLAMABAD: It has been over eight months since the general elections ended, but the security cameras and digital video recorders (DVRs) taken by the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration to aid during the national exercise have yet to be returned, putting security of the schools at risk.
Educational institutions working under the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) served as polling stations during the July 25 general elections last year. At the end of the polling day, the district administration and the election commission staff had taken the DVRs from the institutions as a record of the polling activity for the day.
The DVRs are used for recording video feeds from the Closed Circuit Television Cameras (CCTVs) installed at the educational institutions.
Sources said that the FDE has been repeatedly calling and writing to the district administration to return the DVR sets, but no progress seems to have been made in this regard.
As a result, the security cameras have been rendered nearly useless.
After the December 16, 2014, attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar in which over 140 students and staff were killed, the government had declared schools across the country as ‘sensitive’ and had directed to enhance security at these institutions.
Some heads of educational institutions had spent as much as Rs50,000 to install CCTVs and razor wires at their respective institutions apart from raising the height of the boundary walls around the schools.
No funds for fuel
Owing to the shortage of funds, the bus service of the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) for teachers has been shut down.
The buses used to provide transport facilities to teachers from Islamabad to Rawat, Sihala and other far-flung areas of the federal capital.
The teachers, including a large number of women daily-wagers, now have to commute using a mix of private and public transport. Some even have to travel long distances on foot as well.
The teachers have demanded that the FDE director general issue the requisite funds as soon as possible to resolve the issue.
They added that most of the public transport vehicles operating in the city drop them on their designated stops, which are often located far from their institutions. As a result, they have to walk long distances just to get to their destinations.
It is a similar case when teachers finally get off. They have to walk for long distances to the stops and then wait for the public transport vehicles to arrive and then meander along their predetermined routes before dropping them off at their destinations. As a result, some teachers complained that they now reach their homes after dusk.
Sihala Area Education Officer Nazmeen Sohail said that they have not yet received any response to the letters written to the officials in this regard.
Some 7,000 complaints are reported to have been filed against the FDE on the Prime Minister’s Citizen Complaints Portal.
The complaints were filed by citizens and even by some employees of the FDE regarding the regularization of the teaching and non-teaching staff, lack of facilities at educational institutions, low daily-wage, problems in securing admissions to the model schools and other issues.
The FDE, though, has claimed that it has entertained some 6,000 of these complaints.
However, some complainants do not appear to be satisfied with the answers or the action taken by the FDE and they aim to file the complaints again.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 11th, 2019.