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January 2, 2015
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Parents worried as some schools defying govt’s order on closure

Peshawar

January 2, 2015

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PESHAWAR: Despite government orders, certain private schools have asked parents to start sending their children to schools from January 5.
The winter vacations have been extended till January 11 in view of the security concerns in the wake of the terrorist attack on the Army Public School and College on December 16. The government institutions are bound to obey the government instruction while the private institutions have also assured to follow the official directives.
However, some private institutions are defying the government instructions and have asked the parents to start sending their kids to school from January 5. This has caused serious concern among the parents. “The schools have not taken any security measures and they are insisting that we start sending our children to the school. Our children are at risk. Please tell us what to do,” said Shazia Hina, whose children are studying at a private school in the provincial metropolis.
She urged the government to take action against the institutions that are not obeying its orders.The Allied Public School in Gulbahar area in Peshawar is one such school that has asked the students to start attending the school from January 5.
Minister for Higher Education Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani, who also holds the portfolio of information, said that all the educational institutions would have to follow the security guidelines issued by the government. “Every institution would have to get no-objection certificate from the deputy commissioner. Any institution which failed to acquire the NOC before January 12 won’t be allowed to reopen,” he stressed.
When told that some institutions have announced reopening schools from January 5, he said strict action would be taken against such schools and colleges and their registration would be cancelled.
About the security guidelines, he said that the major educational institutions and school chains have been asked to take effective security measures to avert any

untoward happening. “Look, we are not talking about the small schools established in streets having minimum requirements. But the large institutions, which are collecting heavy fees, have been asked to take proper security measures,” he said.
In the wake of the school attack, the government has expressed its commitment to enhance security at all the educational institutions in the public and private sectors and necessary steps are being taken in consultation with the education department officials at different districts and the management of the private schools.
Most of the private schools have assured to follow the government directives about security issues. President of the Private Educational Institution Management Association (PEIMA), Khwaja Yawar Naseer said that they convened a meeting of all the private schools across the province wherein it was unanimously decided to reopen the school from January 12 and adopt the security guidelines. “We also request the few schools, which have announced reopening earlier than the date given by the government,” he said.
He said that they were ready to adopt most of the guidelines given by the government such as the installation of closed-circuit television cameras, used metal detectors, raising the height of boundary walls and ensuring security to the school buses. “But it was not possible for them to hire security guards as it was costly. We cannot enhance fees further,” he argued. “Each school would require at least 12 security guards for 24/7 duty that would cost at least Rs 150,000 a month,” Khwaja Yawar Naseer pointed out.He said the government instead of asking the educational institutions to hire private security guards should ensure police patrolling.

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