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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

Parents in Delhi say CCTV cameras in classrooms ‘not snooping, helps track kids’

According to officials, of the 1,100 students in the school, at least 80 parents had accessed the footage of classrooms and the app had seen over 400 registrations so far.

education Updated: Jul 16, 2019 08:13 IST
Representative
Representative(Hindustan Times File)
         

Ever since surveillance cameras were installed in Shaheed Hemu Kalani Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya classrooms in Lajpat Nagar, Triloki Sharma has been checking in on his daughter at least twice a day on his phone.

“In our school, we sat on the gunny sacks we brought from our homes. This is a huge leap from that,” said Sharma, a carpenter. This is the first government school to provide live feed of classrooms to parents. “There is no audio, so we don’t know what is being said but it is nice to know what our children are up to.”

But won’t his children find it uncomfortable knowing their father could see them? “Why should they? Besides, even when we go out to work, there are cameras all around us in our offices. But we manage to work,” he said. “When teachers are in the classroom, I can see her studying. But at times, when the teacher isn’t there, students sit and chat.”

Sharma is among the several parents who support the decision made by Arvind Kejriwal-led government to install CCTV cameras in schools and allow parents to access live footage from the classrooms through a mobile application. The feed would only be available to parents, who will be able to access it after getting a secure password for a limited period of time daily.

Neetu, 26, who works as a domestic help, said that through the app they had learnt of the shortage of teachers in their daughter’s class and had conveyed the same to the principal.

Several other parents said they were not able access footage

Principal Bijesh Kumar Sharma said the school will now set up help desks to assist parents. “Some parents do not have smartphones or are unable to access footage because of technical glitches. Our team would look into that.” According to officials, of the 1,100 students in the school, at least 80 parents had accessed the footage of classrooms and the app had seen over 400 registrations so far.

Teachers and students said the presence of cameras had led to fewer disturbances in classrooms. “The boys have been creating less of a ruckus ever since the cameras were installed. They are careful about it,” said Sumit Kanojia, a class 9 student. His teacher Amar Chand also said that students were now more disciplined.

Ajay Veer Yadav, general secretary of the Government School Teachers’ Association, however, said that the project was interfering with the freedom of children. “The move was just to target teachers and nothing else. If the government wanted to work, couldn’t they improve other areas of infrastructure?”

First Published: Jul 16, 2019 08:13 IST