Rawalpindi - The district education department and police have joined hands with a cellular company by configuring a system to cope with any emergency situation that may arise in educational institutions in case of any terrorist attack.

“The provincial government has inked an agreement with a local cellular company which will issue special SIMs having numbers of all emergency departments to the heads of government-run and private educational institutions, stations house officers and police stations, DSPs and SPs,” informed Executive District Officer Education Qazi Zahoorul Haq while talking to media persons here on Saturday.

He said that the steps were part of security efforts being taken to secure educational institutions after terrorist armed attack on a school in Peshawar in December 2014. It aimed to enhance security and ensure quick response to any emergency, he said.

The district education department and directorate colleges have directed the heads of the institutions to purchase the SIMs designed by the cellular company, he said adding that the SIM would cost each school Rs 300 to be paid from school fund.

He said that that upon dialling number *55# in case of any emergency, a message and an SOS call would be sent to the concerned authority that would come in action swiftly.

“It will help police locate immediately the institution and respond quickly to overwhelm the terrorists,” he said.

However, the department would not offer cell phones to use the SIM and teachers have to insert it in their personal phones. The SIMs would be issued to heads of 1,900 government schools, 3,000 private schools and principals of colleges, he informed.

Besides, every high school and even some primary schools have a landline phone connection apart from cell phones every teacher possesses, Qazi said. The EDO said that the system was put in place by the cellular company, IT board and police and it would be upgraded from time to time.

Private institutions have to provide registration number or licence along with a form attested by local SHO, he said adding that the company would issue forms to every private and government school for getting the SIM. A control room set up at city police office by the cellular company, he said.

SP Investigations Haroon Joya who is supervising the process, when contacted, said that a message and SOS call would appear on screen of mobile phone of the concerned SHO, DSP and SP in case of any terrorist attack on school. He said that the message would show name of school and locality or area, he said. He said the message would also be received on a screen at the CPO Office.

On the other hand, the teachers of many educational institutions opposed the idea saying the government should improve intelligence sharing process first. They also demanded the government to allocate funds for the purpose.

Punjab Teachers Union office-bearer and a local school principal said that they had bought CCTV cameras and metal detectors from their own pockets. Commenting on the SIM security plan, they said that the government was just providing SIMs.

They also demanded of the provincial government to release the remaining Rs 40 million of total Rs 80 million approved fund for construction of boundary walls and other security steps of schools in the district.