Schools in residential areas a public nuisance

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LAHORE – Private-sector school campuses located in residential areas, including posh housing societies, are causing traffic problems and disturbing local residents, Pakistan Today has learnt.
The mushroom growth of private academies and tuition centres also has a role in creating traffic mess and a security risk for residents. A majority of such educational institutions shared their walls with houses and residents had to limit their mobility when the schools and academies opened or closed.
Shah Jamal Colony residents complained about the issue and asked the print and electronic media to raise it with the concerned authorities. A Shah Jamal Colony street adjacent to the roundabout was known as the “Street of Schools”, as at least eight private-sector schools and academies were located on it and all of them shared their walls with houses.
Shah Jamal Colony residents said that schools be only allowed to open their branches at designated places, as schools were for people’s welfare not for disturbing them. Lahore District Officer (DO) Commercialisation Qamarul Islam said that school branches could be opened in residential areas but the educational institutions had to follow the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) rules including proper designated parking areas.
Lahore Executive Officer (EDO) Education Dr Arshad told Pakistan Today that the City District Government Lahore (CDGL) could only take action after a complaint was lodged against a school. Lahore EDO Office Academic Assistant Director Iqbal Hussain Kathia told Pakistan Today that the CDGL wanted to promote education according to the Promotion and Regulation Ordinance 1984.
He said that the CDGL would not try to create any hurdles for private-sector schools, as the CDGL wanted to register schools with minimum requirements. Kathia said that schools had to submit building fitness certificates in order to get their schools registered.
The official said that playgrounds were never a requirement for opening schools, as it was almost impossible to open schools in the Walled City with playgrounds. Kathia asked the print and electronic media to point out those schools, which were not registered yet.
Yousaf School System administration manager told Pakistan Today that schools were opened for the public’s welfare and educational institutes had to open schools in residential areas owing to higher rates in designated commercial areas. He complained that schools had no alternative in this regard.
A Model Town F Block resident said that whenever she dropped her children at their school in K Block, she had to face a severe traffic jam, as dozens of schools were located in the area. She said that schools were proving to be a security risk for citizens, as whenever a terrorist attack occurred in Model Town, people had to rush to pick up their children from schools. In a latest terrorist attack in the locality, mirrors of schools were broken and teachers and students were injured as well.
Parents requested school administrations to manage traffic flow during peak hours. Citizen Hamza Butt said that the Lahore Grammar School, Johar Town campus was exemplary in this regard, as the school administration deputed several guards to ensure smooth traffic flow during opening and closing of schools. He said that it was not an uphill task to control traffic and all schools should follow suit in this regard.
Butt said that a proper mechanism be devised and the CDGL should not promote education in such a way. He said that people already know status of the Walled City but emergence of schools in new housing societies was a big question mark on role of the district education department.