The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) has installed CCTV cameras in all primary schools under its ambit, outdoing its north and east counterparts, which are either still awaiting funds or halted at the tendering stage.The SDMC’s information technology (IT) department began installing the devices in October 2018 and completed the exercise in early June. “So far, 3,943 digital ‘dome and bullet’ cameras have been put up at 388 sites where we run 581 schools in morning and evening shifts,” said Nandini Sharma, chairperson of the south body’s education committee.“The exercise cost us around Rs 4.65 crore and will ensure the safety of over 2.38 lakh children who study here. The target was to get done before July 1 when summer vacations end,” she added. The three corporations have been criticised over the past few years for repeated incidents of sexual assault of students in their schools by their members of staff. A 10-year-old girl student was raped by a sanitation worker at an MCD school in east Delhi in February this year. Later that month, a seven-year-old boy broke his elbow in a fight with classmates at a municipal school in south Delhi while the teacher was on a phone call.In May, a four-year-old nursery student was locked in a classroom for hours, at a north Delhi MCD school, after the morning shift ended. Recurring incidents like these prompted demands for electronic surveillance. “Apart from the physical safety of students, we have had a lot of issues such as theft of furniture from schools at night and boy students trying to jump the boundary walls of the school during day hours. Now, all these will be taken care of,” said Baljeet Kaur, principal, SDMC Co-Ed Primary School at Amar Colony in Lajpat Nagar.“The cameras have been strategically installed on main gates, approach lanes to toilets, at playgrounds and activity rooms. We will also be able to see who children are leaving with after school ends,” Shirish Sharma, director (education), SDMC, said.The cameras are night vision-equipped and will record activities in the school premises after dark. “They will store footage for 15 days to a month, and full high-definition screens have been provided at principals’ offices for live monitoring,” Durgesh Kumar, consultant (IT) at SDMC, said. SDMC’s education department has also proposed to hire 434 day-guards, including 237 women, to guard the schools’ main gates. But a total salary of Rs 10.50 crore may lead to the proposal not materialising this financial year. The North Delhi Municipal Corporation, which runs 700 schools at 560 sites, has so far managed to install CCTV cameras at 130 sites, around 18% coverage. The east corporation, meanwhile, has only managed four percent CCTV coverage with cameras installed at 15 schools out of a total 351.