CCTVs of ‘immense help’ to teachers in pvt. schools

Say it aids them in solving theft, indiscipline

Updated - June 24, 2019 01:18 am IST

Published - June 24, 2019 01:17 am IST - NEW DELHI

Delhi government’s decision to instal CCTV cameras inside classrooms in government schools and provide access of the recordings to the parents has given way to a number of debates on how it will affect the functioning of schools, teacher’s output and behaviour of students. A PIL filed in the Supreme Court had cited violation of the “Right to Privacy”.

However, CCTV cameras have already become a norm in most private educational institutions, with cameras installed in classrooms across all grades. Several teachers have given a positive feedback, claiming it to be the catalyst behind the rise in accountability among their colleagues and also a tool that aids them when dealing with misbehaviour by students.

“Cameras are installed in our school to ensure safety of students after the POCSO Act came into effect. We felt the need to update security. It has only served as an added benefit, safeguarding the interests of both the teachers and the students,” said a teacher of a private school in Central Delhi.

Crux of SC petition

The main crux of the petition put forth in the Supreme Court is that the proposed direct access to the recordings of the camera will pose a risk to the safety of “young girls and female teachers” and may give way to stalking.

“If a teacher has been conscientious about her work, having a CCTV around should not affect her. For our school, it has been of immense help in solving cases of theft and indiscipline. However, the access to recordings has been limited to the teachers and principal only. A need for involving the parent has not risen yet. A scenario in which the world is able to look into a classroom - I think that should wait,” the teacher elaborated.

Part of the petition also raises the concern that installation of CCTVs in classrooms would end up becoming an obstruction to freedom of speech and expression, claiming that, “Students and teachers will not be able to express themselves freely in a classroom where everything is closely and continuously monitored.”

However, another teacher from a different private school has described the CCTV set up in her school as being “inconspicuous” enough to the extent that it does not interfere in the teacher’s functioning at all. “Initially we thought that it would be restrictive in some way, but the positioning makes it easy to ignore. The primary purpose behind installing a CCTV camera in each classroom was to increase student’s safety. Initially, we had to assure parents that students will not be affected. Now, we are receiving positive feedbacks from them,” she said.

Cameras in staffrooms

Meanwhile, the Delhi government has proposed to install two CCTV cameras in each classroom. Beyond the classrooms and the necessary vulnerable spots (that have been made mandatory to be put under CCTV surveillance by CBSE in September 2017), private schools installing cameras inside the staffrooms have met with some criticism.

“Parents and teachers are more than happy with CCTVs being installed for the safety of children, but our school has also installed CCTV cameras in the staffroom. This is a hindrance to the teachers,” said a convent schoolteacher.

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