The Interior Ministry is said to have issued advisory instructions to schools, especially the big-name private schools, to beef up their security arrangements against any possible terrorist attack. They have been advised to employ sufficient number of private security armed guards, install security walk-through gates and CCTV cameras, issue school stickers for the car/vehicles dropping and picking up children, regulate traffic at the schools' opening and closing times, arrange for cars to be parked at some distance from school gates, install PA system and sirens etc, etc. These are good measures and must be strictly followed by all. Schools should formulate their own contingency plans tailored to their particular environs to counter effectively various emergency situations. Staff and students must not only be trained in taking the most appropriate action required for each contingency but periodic and regular mock drills must also be held at least once a week to prepare everybody. In the event of an attack immediate reaction and quick dispersion cannot be over-emphasised for minimizing the risk of casualties. Mobility and light weight are of paramount importance for quick dispersion, which would be greatly impeded if the young students are laden with their heavy back breaking satchels. They will simply not be able to run. It is, therefore, strongly suggested that the students must not carry their satchels while coming to or leaving the school gates. Satchels should be kept in school and not taken home by students. Even if there are no lockers, which in most cases are not, the satchels should be left in classrooms or on the student's desk. Leaving the satchels in school could pose problem in doing homework. For that, the students could be made to stay for an extra hour or so in schools to do the assigned homework. Doing homework in schools is not an unknown practice. It is done in many public and private schools all over the world. -COL. (Retd) RIAZ JAFRI, Rawalpindi, via e-mail, April 11.