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Punjab Ensures Child Safety: Students Restricted from Leaving Schools Without Guardian

Safeguarding Punjab's Children


In response to a distressing increase in sexual abuse cases against children, the Punjab Ministry of Education has taken resolute action to safeguard the well-being of students. In a significant move, all schools, both government and private, have been mandated to implement measures to prevent students from leaving the school premises during school and recreational hours.

In order to enforce these protective measures, school principals have been directed to deploy security guards and watchmen at the main gates during off-hours. Their primary responsibility will be to ensure that children remain within the school grounds until they are safely picked up by a parent or guardian.

The implementation process is already underway, with district and tehsil education officers actively informing school heads about the contents of the circular. They are also required to provide a report on the status of implementation by 25th July.

To maintain vigilant oversight, a watchman, naib qasids (assistants), and a designated teacher or focal person must be present at the schools, as specified in the circular. The initial schools to adopt these measures will be in Murree, Kotli Sattian, and Kahuta, where schools are currently open. Subsequently, other schools will follow suit after the summer vacation.

The Ministry of Education has underscored a zero-tolerance policy for any lapses in the strict enforcement of these measures, with special emphasis on the private school sector. Yaseen Baloch, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Rawalpindi District Education Authority, has confirmed the swift implementation of this order in open educational institutions in hilly tehsils.

The urgency of these actions is rooted in the publication of a report titled ‘Cruel Number’ by an NGO advocating for child protection in Pakistan. The report exposed a staggering 4,253 child sexual abuse cases reported across the country in the year 2022 alone.

Disturbingly, the report highlights that children aged six to fifteen years are at the highest risk, with more male victims than female victims. Even more tragically, the cases involve children as young as five years old.

While Punjab witnessed the majority of reported cases, other provinces in Pakistan also recorded instances of child abuse. In the face of this alarming situation, it is imperative that the Ministry of Education takes swift action to protect and secure the safety of students throughout the province. The implementation of these measures serves as a crucial step towards creating a safer and secure environment for children within educational institutions.

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