School children security plan

CPLC launches anti-terror awareness drive for schools
Karachi, Feb 26: The Citizen Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) has launched an anti-terror awareness drive, which focuses on the security of schools and children, it has been learnt.

CPLC staff has been deputed by the organisation's chief, Sharfuddin Memon, to different schools and colleges, and a book titled "How to combat terrorists acts" is also being provided to schools.

CPLC chief said that most residents of Karachi, especially children, have no knowledge about how to deal with strangers, and kidnappers usually take advantage of this fact. He said that many kidnappers lure children by offering them sweets or other items, and then abduct them, only for parents to pay exorbitant amounts in ransom. Memon said that in the recent spate of terrorism, terrorists usually targeted schools, and thus, the CPLC had devised a comprehensive plan for security of schools.

As per the plan, school administrations will be advised to set up a control room, with security cameras installed at entry and exit points of the school. The cameras should be able to cover the outer boundary of the school, Memon said, and major roads around the school should also be under the area of surveillance. Any suspicious movement during school timings should be reported to the local police station as well as to CPLC, he said.

Moreover, he said, camera recordings should be monitored daily to ensure no suspicious movements take place after school hours. Schools will also be advised to maintain at least a week-long record of surveillance footage, he said.

The plan also suggests that school administrations should have security guards placed at an elevated place or on the rooftop of the school building, while the boundary wall of school premises should be constructed to an adequate height so as to secure the premises from any intrusion. Memon added that school administrations, if possible, should place walk-through gates and metal detectors at entry/exit points.

The CPLC has also advised setting apart school timings for different levels so as to minimise congestion at and around the school gate. Further, vehicles should not be allowed to pick or drop children from the very front of the school gate, and no vehicle should be permitted to park their vehicle close to the gate.

On finding a suspicious parcel, bag or package, school officials should immediately cordon off the area, and ensure that no one touches, tampers or moves the item. The police should be informed immediately in such an event.

Similarly, in case any unidentified parcel is received by post or courier, or if a package, object or abandoned car is found near school premises, the matter should be immediately reported to the security personnel of the school. The suspected area should be cordoned off, and the Bomb Disposal Squad summoned. Such processes would be aided by a parents' network, which in turn, would ensure effective communication.

The CPLC chief advised that window panes should preferably be laminated with fragment resistant film so as to prevent splinters in case of a blast. Moreover, a map and floor plan of the school building should also be prepared, and its easy availability on a short notice should be ensured. Further, a sufficient number of fire extinguishers should also be installed on each floor of the school building.

First-aid kits should be handy and accessible, while a meeting or assembly point should be identified for times of emergency. Toilets, libraries, class rooms etc. should be regularly checked, the CPLC chief said. He added that an emergency evacuation plan should be planned out with direction signs and emergency drills in case of terrorism or natural disaster. All staff members, teachers and children should be given civil defence training.

Hawkers and vendors should not be allowed near the school, and van drivers should be advised to remain vigilant while on the way to school or when dropping children home. Van doors should be kept locked at all times to avoid becoming easy prey for terrorists, and at least one guard should accompany the children for security purposes.

Memon advised parents and drivers to keep glancing at their rear-view mirrors, all to avoid sitting inside their vehicle on roadsides. Moreover, all doors should be locked, and in case of emergency or suspicion, citizens should stay calm and head for the nearest police station.

The police record of all prospective employees or staff should be checked through the CPLC, and a copy of their CNIC and photograph should be deposited for reference, Memon said. Similarly, proper identity card should be displayed by all students, teaching staff, non-teaching staff and van drivers, and no one should be allowed to enter school premises without proper identification.

To adopt preventive measures against terrorist activities, emergency alarm bells should be installed, Memon said, adding that school administrations should have all emergency phone numbers posted on their notice board and available to parents. These include phone numbers of CPLC, Police, ambulance services, and the fire brigade.

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Performance of Sindh education sector
Karachi: The Senior Minister for Education and Literacy, Pir Mazhar Ul Haq, has expressed his dissatisfaction over the performance of the education sector and directed the officials to report to the Secretary Education, Siddique Memon as soon as possible.

The minister was conducting a high level meeting at the Camp Office on Thursday. All the concerned District Officer (DO), Education, Executive District Officer (EDO) and Secretary Education were called to present their reports in this regard.

However, the senior minister was annoyed with the reports submitted by various DO Education, as most of them were incomplete and did not carry proper facts and figures. On this occasion, Haq said that he would not accept any pressure in the transferring and promotion of teachers.

"There must be access to education, as well as all closed schools should be open without further delay, as the country cannot meet the challenges of the current era if its people are not educated", he said.

He also said that the society has to bring about a change in their attitude to increase the standard of government schools. Haq also expressed his disappointment over the reports of schools in poor conditions and unnecessary promotions of the teachers.

The Secretary Education has been asked to submit a complete report in this regard. The education minister also took notice of the reports which said that the teachers, who were conducted through the IBA test, were transferred to other locations. He directed the authority concerned to bring these teachers to their previous postings or sack them from the job.

The EDO, Education, Muhammad Ibrahim Kumbhar, told the minister that there are 468 primary schools in Karachi while 91 lower secondary schools are also operating in the city.

As per EDO, Education, report 128 high school teachers, 397 junior school teachers, 4074 primary school teachers and 345 Sindhi language teachers are teaching in these educational institutes.

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Sindhi language promotion
Karachi: Sindhi linguists, educationists and scholars have demanded to the government that Sindhi be recognised as a national language in the province.

In this regard a draft was prepared by a nine-member committee, headed by renowned scholar and ex-chairman of Sindhi Adabi Boar Muhammad Ibrahim Joyo. The draft states that all the nationalities living in the country have already demanded that their mother tongues be declared as national languages of the country, and Urdu be made only the working language.

The nine-member committee was designed by Sindhi Language Authority (SLA), an autonomous body whose chairperson Dr Fahmida Hussain and secretary Taj Joyo are also members of the committee. Other members include former vice chancellor Sindh University Dr Ghulam Ali Alana, Director Sindh Culture Department Muhammad Ali Manjhi, renowned poet Imdad Hussaini, Secretary General Sindhi Adabi Sangat Yousaf Sindhi and others.

The draft reads that even the government-run literary institution Pakistan Academy of Letters, in 1994, declared all the languages spoken in the country are national languages. The draft termed it as an injustice with the people of Pakistan that their mother tongues are not given status of national languages.

The draft says that Sindhi is the original language of the Indus Valley people, which possesses all the peculiarities of a developed language of the world and fulfils the criteria of being a national language. It is rich in folk, classical, modern, progressive and ancient literature. People in Sindh are very much conscious and emotional about their language and culture.

The draft argues that the separation of former East Pakistan was also a result of the controversy over the national language. The draft also maintains that the language riots in Sindh urban areas in 1972 after the separation of East Pakistan were a conspiracy against the Sindhi language.

It justifies that the experts of linguistic science have set principles that any language may be declared a national language which is used by the people in their every day lives; that has been spoken by a nation from time immemorial and that is being used as official and court language and also as a medium of institutions from primary up to the higher education. Moreover, that is being used for its literary and media communication; which is able to borrow and use the words and phrases from other developed languages of the world and can transform that stock of words according to its own grammatical structure, which is originated from the language of the soil of that nation.

The draft reads that there is no clear provision regarding the national languages in the recently announced National Education Policy 2009.

Moreover, former Vice Chancellor Sindh University and author of more than 100 books, Dr Nabi Bakhsh Baloch, has expressed dissatisfaction on the role of political parties and successive governments which, according to him, never brought the language issue for discussion at major forums.

At a recently held seminar, he said that Pakistan is a multi-cultural, multi-national and multi-lingual country. At each small valley the people had their own mother tongue, which needed to be promoted at state level. He claimed that no work was done regarding the national language issue or the problems of languages in the country. He also backed Sindhi language to be declared national language.

The seminar, was a part of, 'Sindhi Language-National Language', a recently launched campaign for the support of the Sindhi language.

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Hifz-e-Quran competition
Karachi: An Inter School Hifz-e-Quran and Husn-e-Qiraat Competition was held at the Defence Authority Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed (SKBZ) College on Thursday. Students of eight schools participated in the competition.

Brig (retd) Fayouz-ur-Rehman was the chief guest on the occasion. Speaking on the occasion, he said that the Holy Quran is an eternal source of guidance and a complete code of life for humanity. He emphasized the need for following the teachings of the Quran to gain success in life and hereafter. He exhorted the students to take guidance from the Quran and Sunnah for life's internal blessings.

The college Principal, Shahid Loon reiterated that the adherence to the teachings of the Quran could bring a complete change in life.

In the Husn-e-Qiraat Competition, Muhammad Ummar of the Defence Authority Model High School Phase-VII secured the top position while Muhammad Farooq Khalil of Defence Authority SKBZ College got the second position. The third position was won by Usman Ghani of Defence Authority Iqra Model High School VIII. In the Hifz-e-Quran Competition, Fasih Mansoori of Defence Authority SKBZ College secured the first position while Muhammad Uusha of Defence Authority Iqra Model School Phase-VIII team got the second position, followed by Muhammad Usman of Defence Authority High School Phase-VIII who won the third position.

The overall best performance trophy was won by the Defence Authority Iqra Model High School Phase-VIII team while the Defence Authority Model High School Ph-VII got the second position. The news

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