Sindh bans cell phones on campus as parents worry about kids’ security
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Karachi: As a majority of schools across the province reopened after a winter vacation period extended for the most tragic of reasons, student attendance at private and public institutes on Monday was said to be encouragingly high.
However, apprehensions still reign over parents’ minds as grave threats persist, and it was to this end that a high-level security review meeting chaired by Sindh Senior Minister for Education Nisar Ahmed Khuhro resolved to have the use of mobile phones barred in all educational institutes during teaching hours with immediate effect.
As per the decision, staff members of government-run and private schools across Sindh would not be allowed to carry or use cell phones during school timings. The move was seen as an imperative step by participants of the meeting, who included the city commissioner, police chief and senior education officers, held at the Sindh Assembly.
Speaking to newsmen after the meeting, Khuhro said the use of mobile phones in schools and colleges could prove to be a major hazard as it afforded room for unchecked communication. “We have decided to impose a complete ban on mobile phone use at schools and colleges during teaching hours. This measure must now be implemented by all managements at the earliest,” said the minister.
Khuhro added that security presence at over 3,000 schools in six districts of Karachi and 46,000 schools across the province would be beefed up. Moreover, from 7am to 1pm, patrolling by Rangers and police would be increased within a four-kilometer radius of educational institutions.
Similarly, he assured that law-enforcement agencies would remain on high alert and be available on-call in case of any potential threats.
The minister said a checklist comprising essential security measures had been circulated among school administrations which must be strictly implemented. These include higher boundary walls, and Khuhro said that construction would start at 150 schools in Karachi and hundreds of schools across the province soon. “The boundary walls must be at least eight feet high and all existing ones must also be raised to the same height,” he said.
Secondly, stricter checks and control over transporters have been urged. The minister explained that the bio-data of school or college van drivers would be collected by the police stations concerned. Moreover, transporters would be required to adhere to fixed pick and drop routes and all drivers were warned against leaving their vehicles unattended.
Another step called for avoidance of overcrowding at school gates. To this end, no pushcart vendors would be allowed to around the premises. The entry of irrelevant visitors would be also be disallowed and all visitors would have to verify their particulars.
According to Khuhro, water supply reservoirs around school premises would also be checked by relevant authorities. Lastly, the meeting resolved that no function or event, except those related to academic or extracurricular activities of schools, would be allowed within the premises of educational institutes.
10 days for action
The minister maintained that all school administrations must implement the security plan within 10 days, after which a follow-up meeting would be conducted to review the situation.
“The terrorists who targeted innocent school students were enemies of humanity. The entire nation stands united against them today. Politicians and the parliament have come up with a joint action plan to thwart these terrorists and we must all work together now to protect ourselves,” said Khuhro.