Lahore: Amid pressures and fears of terror attacks on schools, Sonia Ahmed, a student of grade IX in Lahore Grammar School other than getting a standard education, has also started acquiring life-saving and civil defense skills from the school administration.
This upsetting situation emerged after the militants’ attack on Army Public School, Peshawar on December 16, 2014 leaving 145 death casualties among students and teachers. As a result, the educational institutions remained closed for two weeks.
Punjab Education Minister Rana Mashood Ahmed Khan elaborated the government’s stance to New Lens Pakistan regarding its mandatory role in giving civil defense training in the wake of threats of militants’ attacks on schools. “The training is part of the civil-defense drill as the Punjab government has given direction to all schools to conduct it with the assistance of different experts and local civil-defense teams.”
He added that the government would also make civil-defense training module part of schools and colleges syllabi, which will be done by imparting quality training of civil-defense. The government, he said, is also preparing booklets on civil-defense trainings which are to be distributed free of cost in public and private schools at District level.
“We want to give strong message to militants and terrorists that we are not afraid of these cowardly attacks and we can defend ourselves,” he told with determination. “This is unfortunate but we have to take this step because we have become a security state where society is at risk all the time,” he added.
Schools are offering civil-defense drill elaborating techniques of how to survive a militant attack at least twice a week in case of any threatening incident.
For Sonia, such trainings are important for life saving but her parents seem distressed thinking that such trainings would create psychological impact on school-going children. “We are shocked that now our children will be focusing on these seemingly adventurous drills rather than paying attention to their studies,” Ahmed Ali, the father of Sonia who is a local businessman, told News Lens Pakistan. “This is sad that our state and society has reached at the level where students and teachers are asked to hold guns, rather than pens, in their hands to save their lives,” he added. He sadly believes that the state has lost its writ leaving people at their own for their safety and security.
One of the teachers (anonymous) at the Lahore Grammar School said that initially the students and faculty was troubled by these on-going arrangements. But in order to make our future generation well prepared in a security state these drills were quite useful, she added.