Rawalpindi - Keeping in view the ongoing volatile security situation, Punjab Education Department (PED) has ordered the administrations of the schools to avoid holding of morning assemblies for the time being, reliable sources told The Nation on Sunday.

Sources said that the government also directed the administrations of schools to complete construction work of boundary walls till January 15, 2015 and kept the schools closed unless foolproof security arrangements are ensured. “The managements of the schools are asked not to commence classes without making foolproof security arrangements and to complete construction work of boundary walls of all the schools by January 15, 2015,” sources mentioned.  

On the other hand, PED through an order has directed the schools’ managements to hire well-equipped security guards of private companies to guard the children during school hours and pay their salaries from its own funds.

A high-up of District Education Department, while talking to The Nation, said that the administrations of all the schools have been asked to utilise funds from Faroogh-e-Taleem Fund (FTF) to pay salaries to the security guards.

He said that though schools could bear the expenses for installing walk-through-gates, giving metal detectors and CCTV cameras, yet they would not have enough money to pay security guards salaries.

He said that the heads of schools have been asked to hire security guards against Rs4,000 per month which was meagre salary. “The heads of schools are worried and they lifted the matter of such meagre salary with EDO Education, saying no body will be ready to put his life at risk for the sake of Rs4000,” he said, adding that maximum salary should be Rs15,000 for any security guard.

The DED gives Rs20,000 each to primary schools while Rs40,000 to middle and Rs80,000 to high schools every year in the name of FTF. Besides, every school management charges Rs20 from every student which is called FTF.

A large number of teachers of schools, while talking to The Nation on request of anonymity, termed the security steps being taken by government as temporary and short lived.

 They said that the government should either shelve the idea or take permanent steps to protect the precious lives of children from terrorists. They have also demanded the PED to allocate separate funds as FTF was not meant for payment of salaries to security guards.

Punjab Teachers Association Rawalpindi chapter office-bearer Hamid Ali Shah, when contacted, strongly opposed the idea of government of hiring security guard against Rs4,000 per month. He said that no one would agree to guard schools against such low salary.

He said that the government should hire guards on permanent basis, give them proper salaries and other perks and privileges.

He said that it might be possible that dozens of people would agree to work on such a low salary offer due to joblessness but they would never risk their lives if terrorists launch attack on any school.

Punjab Education Minister and EDO Education Rawalpindi were not available for their comments on the issue.