Govt orders security audit of Category A schools

LAHORE:18 March: An audit has shown an alarming decrease in security arrangements at Category A schools across the province. Many of the measures prescribed by the government were found to be missing. In a detailed special report compiled by a civil intelligence agency, a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune, there are a total of 4,965 A Category schools in 10 districts of the province. The figure is up from the initial total of 4,943. The report points to an increase in the number of missing observation posts, walkthrough gates, scanners, bunkers, concrete barriers, zigzag barriers at entry/exit points, armed security guards and snipers. At the same time, the number of institutions where mock security exercises were not conducted also increased. According to the re-categorization made with the increase in the number of A Category schools, the report identified the most institutes in the category were from Gujranwala. There were 1,028 schools from the area in Category A and this was followed by Multan with 713 schools. From Faisalabad, there were 491 schools identified as Category A, whereas Sheikhupura had a total of 490 institutes. Rawalpindi has 476 and Sargodha 458 schools. Dera Ghazi Khan has 451, Sahiwal 41, Bahawalpur 314 and Lahore 126 Category A schools. According to the report, the number of A Category schools with missing observation posts has increased from 13 to 21 institutions. Out of the total 21, 11 institutions were in Dera Ghazi Khan, three in Lahore and two each in Sahiwal and Bahawalpur, while one institute lacked posts in Sheikhupura, Gujranwala and Multan regions. The report also noted that a total of 112 educational institutions lacked a boundary wall. Of these, the highest number was found in the Sahiwal region with 78 institutions. Govt orders security audit of Category A schools The report also found that a total of 4,355 Category A schools did not have walkthrough gates; the number was earlier recorded at 4,332. The report said that the schools without walkthrough gates were 86% of the total institutes. “This parameter is consistently being reported as missing with such a large margin in all the institutions of Category A throughout Punjab.” Institutes without scanners had increased from 4,920 to 4,942. The report also said that a total of 1,597 schools lacked bunkers. The number has increased from an initial estimate of 1,498. Institutions at which concrete barriers were not placed also increased from 607 to 628, and the lack of zigzag barriers at entry and exit point increased from 1,231 to 1,252. The number of schools where mock exercises had not been bumped up increased to 1,806 from 1,680. According to the report, a total of 2,146 schools had not deployed armed security guards, whereas the number was previously recorded at 2,122. Similarly, snipers were not deployed at 3,985 institutions, a number which went up from 3,817. The report also said that weapons available with the guards at 25 institutions were found to be nonfunctional, with the highest number recorded in Gujranwala region, whereas over-aged security guards were deployed at 12 institutions. The report also said that 232 institutions had untrained security guards, with the highest number in the Multan region where such observations were made at 206 schools. The report said that 2,733 institutes—54 percent of the total— had not vetted the security personnel through the Special Branch. A total of 21 institutions were found to not have installed CCTV cameras with the highest number being reported in the Sheikhupura region. Published in The Express Tribune, March 18th, 2018.

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