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January 25, 2015

LHC releases guidelines on security of campuses

Lahore

 
January 25, 2015

LAHORE
A division bench of the Lahore High Court has released six guidelines on the security of educational institutions in the province and sought their strict compliance.
The bench comprising Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Ayesha A. Malik was hearing a petition filed by Advocate Zain Sakandar over security concerns in schools.
The court issued the following guidelines:
The government should ensure through its monitoring system that all public and private institutions are in compliance with security directives. In this regard, update of the monitoring teams should be placed before the court on the next date of hearing.
All educational institutions, which want to take additional security measures, can approach the DCO for assistance, which will be provided according to available resources.
District Security Audit Committees, which are responsible for improving security arrangements in educational institutions, should hold regular meetings with the school administration to remain up to date.
In the event that any person has any concern, or complaint with regard to the security arrangements, they may approach the DCO of the district through a written application. In this regard, the DCO should develop a mechanism to hear the concern, or complaint of parents and schools.
To sensitise the public on security issues pertaining to educational institutions, an awareness campaign should be launched through different modes by the government immediately. The School Education Secretary categorically stated that the cost of improvement in security measures as directed by the government to all public and private institutions cannot be passed on to students and will be borne by the institutions themselves. In this regard, if there is a complaint, it may be forwarded to the respective DCO of the district, who should immediately bring it to the notice of the District Security Audit Committee to take necessary action.
The bench held in-camera

proceedings and the respondents stated that the security of all educational institutions, public and private, had been put in place in terms of notifications on December, 16, 2014 and December 23, 2014.
They explained that District Security Public Committees had been set up to carry out audits of all educational institutions in all districts of Punjab. They said that an awareness campaign would be launched to enable parents to participate in security issues of their respective institutions.
They said that progress reports were taken on a regular basis up to the level of the Punjab chief minister. The court was also informed that private schools would not enhance fees in the wake of enhanced security arrangements and they would manage it from their own resources. The court was also informed that in case of any grievance, parents as well as school managements would approach the DCO concerned for the redress of their complaints. Vigilance committees have been formed at district level for strict monitoring of schools. Police authorities submitted that satisfactory security arrangements had been made in educational institutions.
Later, the petitioner was allowed to participate in the proceedings. The main concern of the petitioner was that the government was responsible for the security of children in all educational institutions. Adequate security measures have not been taken by all educational institutions yet but they were allowed to open on January 12, he contended.
The petitioner said the monitoring teams had not been sent to educational institutions to ascertain whether all government directives were being complied with.