The government’s claim of providing security to education institutes in the federal capital can aptly be gauged from the fact that over 70 schools are still functioning without boundary walls.
While officials at the Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) state that funds are being allocated to schools for construction of boundary walls and other security measures, on the ground no such measures could be seen to substantiate the claim.
The schools without boundary walls have either become cattle pens or dens of drug-addicts. The open grounds of the institutes are being used by children of neighbouring localities as playgrounds.
A recent government survey had identified around 122 educational institutes in the capital where boundary walls had to be raised and other security measures but no practical steps have been taken on this front.
However, many schools and colleges are still prone to threats of terrorism.
After the attack on the Peshawar Army Public School in December last year, CADD Minister Usman Ibrahim held several meetings to thrash out plans to secure the capital’s schools and colleges, but those ‘marathon sessions’ are yet to bear fruit.
“We are waiting for the funds, but I think they are just wasting our time despite the fact that lives of thousands of children are at stake,” said a teacher at the Islamabad College of Girls F-6/2 while speaking on the condition of anonymity.
The CADD initially announced to release Rs180 million out of the Rs600 million, as estimated by the Pakistan Public Works Department (PWD) to construct boundary walls around 70 schools. But later, some 122 schools were added to the list which needed security enhancements.
Subhan Ahmad, a teacher at a school in Sector G-8, was more worried about the children’s lives than the funds.
“I am astonished to note that our school’s boundary wall is broken and children of nearby colonies play in its ground in the evening while animals and stray dogs could also be seen roaming on its premises,” he said, adding that though security officials and the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) staff visited the school a few days back they never bothered to get back with any steps.
A female teacher at the Islamabad College of Girls F-6/2 said that when an official of the police’s special branch visited their college, they asked what measures they should take in case of any incident of terrorism, the official smiled and said “we can only pray for the 6,500 students”.
Source said the CADD has yet to get a nod from the PWD to start work on the boundary walls of several schools. When contacted, CADD Secretary Khalid Hanif said they were directly transferring the required funds to school principals and the ‘work on boundary walls will start very soon’.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 16th, 2015.