Closure of educational institutions extended

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The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Monday extended the closure of the government and private educational institutions until January 11 on security grounds.

The decision to this effect was made during two separate meetings, one chaired by elementary and secondary education minister Mohammad Atif and the other by higher education department secretary Mohammad Ali Shahzad.

Participants of the two meetings discussed the reopening of schools, colleges and universities after the ongoing winter vacation in light of the overall security situation in the province.

The educational institutions in the province were slated to open on December 30 but the higher education department delayed it over terrorist fears by extending winter vacation.

Now, schools, varsities will reopen on Jan 11 for security reasons
The government and private educational institutions have been closed in the province since the December 16 carnage at the Army Public School, Peshawar.

In the first three days after the attack, educational institutions were closed to mourn the killing of the people, mostly schoolchildren.

Later, the government decided to keep them closed until December 29 on account on winter vacation.

Now, the vacation has been extended until January 11.

During the Monday meeting chaired by higher education department secretary Mohammad Ali Shahzad, the representatives of colleges and universities made several demands to enhance the security of their campuses.

A participant said the college principals demanded provision of weapons for security guards to be deployed at colleges and the installation of barbed wire on boundary walls.

He said the principals also sought permission to create security posts atop college buildings and establish emergency gates besides relaxation in rules for the immediate procurement of security gadgets.

The participant said the purchase of security tools would take months if rules weren’t relaxed.

He said some participants insisted providing security to educational institutions was the responsibility of the district administration and police and that they couldn’t do the job.

Another participant said the security measures discussed in the meeting won’t help protect schools and colleges against terrorist threats.

“They’re cosmetic security arrangements. We can stop a thief or the one intending to harm colleges but not a group of militants wearing explosive jackets and carrying rocket launchers,” he said.

The participant said the department and police had repeatedly asked college principals to remain vigilant and call the law-enforcement agencies for help over terrorist threats.

“What will the police or district administration do if militants enter the college and blow themselves up among students?”

A security analyst said if the government and state agencies were serious about protecting educational institutions from terrorists, they should identify and address root causes of terrorism.