PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government education institutions have begun charging student fees for arranging security guards, after failing to procure needed funds from the education ministry in order to meet the provincial police’s required standards for safety.
The fee collection follows the attack on the Bacha Khan University in Charsadda, which had claimed the lives of at least 21 people earlier this month.
Government institutions have been instructed to follow a set of security guidelines by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police. But headmasters say there is a lack of funds in their already-limited budget to implement expensive measures like installing security personnel and CCTV cameras.
“They are harassing us for no reason,” the headmaster of a high school in Peshawar said on the condition of anonymity. “We are being instructed to do all these things… raise our walls, install wires and CCTV cameras, but how do we do it?”
Schools have reached out to the education ministry seeking funds, but so far their requests have gone unheeded.
“What is the education ministry doing?” the headmaster asked. “We applied for funds, we didn’t get them. We don’t have any funds.”
While referring to the police action taken against educational institutions for not complying with security guidelines, the headmaster said, “They’re just shunning responsibility.”
To address the lack of funding, Gomal Medical College (GMC) in Dera Ismail Khan issued a notice to students announcing a fee for arranging security guards for hostel security.
The notice, issued from the Office of the Chief Provost Gomal Medical College, is available with Dawn.com and reads:
“Due to present security threats of teaching institute in KPK, College/Hostel authority is going to arrange one private security guard for the security of Girls Hostel. GMC DI Khan till the 30/6/2016.”
The college asks females students to pay Rs500 each (Rs100 per month) within a week of a notice.
Peshawar’s higher education minister, Mushtaq Ghani, has been travelling abroad for the past 10 days. In his absence, Shaukat Yousufzai clarified that the government has not issued any instructions for charging these fees.
“Universities and colleges are autonomous but the government is paying for security guards,” he said.
Police personnel have been visiting the schools to check up on the implementation of their prescribed guidelines. FIRs have been filed against principals and headmasters who have not met security requirements.
Earlier this week, Abbas Majeed Sarwat, the SSP of the Peshawar operation said that the police force was not big enough to cover every school and area in a province with 64,000 schools and only 68,000 personnel.
“It is not possible to have security personnel posted at every institution,” Sarwat said. “It almost comes to one person per school.”