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February 4, 2015

90pc schools in KP lack adequate security


February 4, 2015

PESHAWAR: Less than 10 percent of the schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have adopted adequate security arrangements to thwart Army Public School-like attacks while the rest are functioning without ensuring protection to kids, a source told The News on Tuesday.
The children using school buses and vans everyday are more vulnerable to attacks as none of these vehicles have any kind of security. A cracker attack and threatening letters issued to schools in Karachi on Tuesday has further alarmed the security personnel.
There are more than 3,200 private and public schools alone in Peshawar but just over 200 were issued “no objection certificates” (NOCs) for adopting adequate security measures. Of these, 2,027 are registered with the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education Peshawar.
“We have inspected 2,114 educational institutions out of which 194 private and 18 public sector schools were issued NOCs for having proper security,” Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) of Peshawar Ijaz Ahamd told The News.
Almost same is the ratio in all the other districts of the province. Though the government is forcing private schools to upgrade security, many public sector schools in the remote districts are functioning even without boundary walls.
According to an official of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police, 1,181 schools were inspected all over the provinceon Tuesday. Up to 738 others were checked on Monday. It was observed that most of the schools had failed to arrange the required security.
Apart from the buildings, thousands of buses and vans transporting millions of children from and to schools are even more vulnerable for having no security arrangements. Many buses and vans were attacked in the past and resulted in casualties.
Information Minister Mushtaq Ghani had announced that every school bus would have two security guards, one at the entrance and another on the roof of the school to counter any attack. Chief Minister Parvez Khattak, too, had

announced that schools without proper security would be closed down.
The management of the private schools, however, paid no heed to the announcement. The associations of the private schools argue that the government and its law-enforcement agencies are responsible for providing security to the people. They said taxes are collected by the government from the public and this entitled them to protection.
The government had constituted special committees of officers of the police, district government and education department at the sub-division level to inspect schools, colleges and universities in their jurisdiction.
The government and its security forces, however, have not taken any extraordinary measures to ensure security to all the schools and colleges.One of the reasons for the government failure to protect these institutions is stated to be shortage of manpower.
The PTI-led provincial coalition in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had also allowed teachers and other school employees to bring light arms to the educational institutions and this was publicly stated by information minister Mushtaq Ghani, but education minister Mohammad Atif Khan later denied issuing any such directive.

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