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School principals turn to CCTV cameras to maintain discipline

With infrastructure increasing in most of Chandigarh’s private schools,principals have found it difficult to monitor activities both inside and outside the classrooms.

Written by Ritika Jha | Chandigarh |
August 19, 2011 3:35:14 am

With infrastructure increasing in most of Chandigarh’s private schools,principals have found it difficult to monitor activities both inside and outside the classrooms. To solve the problem schools have now turned to CCTV cameras which are connected to Digital Video Recorder (DVR) systems,that now enable principals to keep a tab on everything from their offices. Over the past year,the CCTV cameras have become a common feature in nearly 55 of the total 63 private schools in the city. They are primarily installed in corridors,classrooms,playgrounds,library,reception hall,laboratories and the entry gate.

For the principals the cameras have emerged as an effective tool in ensuring discipline,as they feel that the cameras create a psychological impact of ‘being under surveillance’ not only among students but teachers and non-teaching staff.

Sanjay Sardana,Director of Manav Mangal group of Schools told Newsline: “The principal cannot be present everywhere all the time. But the cameras have done away with this limitation since everyone in the school,especially the students,gets a sense of being under surveillance and hence maintain discipline”.

Additionally,the DVR allows authorities to review events that have occurred over the previous seven days. This allows school heads to investigate complaints of bullying,misconduct or scuffles among students or even teachers by reviewing the stored footage.

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“In case the principal is not in the office,she can always view the previous days happenings. To look into the complaints,the principal can make use of the recorder in finding out that what went wrong. This way the system allows a fool proof inspection,” said Punita Singh,counsellor at Carmel Convent School,Sector 9.

In some of the schools,the cameras are installed in the principal’s room as well. “Apart from keeping an eye on the happenings in the different parts of the school,the basic purpose of installing these cameras is also to keep a check on those who come and meet us,“ said a school principal.

While most of the schools state the parents of students share a consent with them in reviewing the students through the cameras,they also agree that enough consideration has to be made to ensure that the surveillance system does not get interpreted as an intrusion into the freedom of students or teachers at the school.

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“Time and again we need to take feedback from teachers and students in order to make sure they do not feel restricted due to the camera being there over their heads all the time,” said Sardana. On an average,each of the schools have installed a total of 90 cameras with each camera costing between Rs 8,000 to 10,000.

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First published on: 19-08-2011 at 03:35:14 am

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