SINGAPORE: Closed-circuit television cameras will be mandatory at all preschools and government-funded early intervention centres from Jul 1 next year, and parents will be given access to footage to assist with the investigation of “serious incidents”.
This move follows a regular review of security and safety measures in the early childhood sector, the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) said on Thursday (Aug 31).
The agency said it had been engaging the preschool sector since last year and it informed operators in February this year of plans to make CCTVs compulsory. This decision also took the views of parents, educators and preschool operators into consideration, it added.
“Parents’ access to CCTV footage will only be granted for the purposes of providing an objective reference point to clarify feedback or to assist the investigation of serious incidents within the preschool premises. The request should be within reasonable grounds,” said the agency.
From Jul 1, 2024, CCTV cameras will be required in key access points and areas used by children such as classrooms, activity rooms, play areas within the premises and infant napping room.
To ensure the privacy of employees and children, ECDA said CCTV cameras will not be allowed in toilets, changing rooms and staff rest areas.
The agency will share a set of guidelines with preschool operators on Friday.
“More than 60 per cent of preschools and 100 per cent of early intervention centres have already installed CCTV cameras on their premises. CCTV cameras will enhance the security of the preschool by deterring suspicious or unauthorised persons from entering the premises,” said ECDA.
“In the event of incidents, CCTV footage can be an objective and reliable source of evidence to support the investigation.
“The implementation of CCTV cameras will complement existing measures to provide a safe and secure environment in our preschools so parents and educators will have a greater peace of mind.”
CONCERN ABOUT CCTV CAMERAS
The issue of CCTVs in preschools came to the fore this week following incidents of alleged child abuse at two Kinderland preschools.
Videos of two teachers allegedly mistreating children at the Woodlands Mart centre and Sunshine Place centre emerged recently.
Both were arrested this week, with one of them charged on Wednesday with ill-treating a child.
Videos of the incidents at the Woodlands Mart centre were widely circulated on social media. A former Kinderland teacher had told CNA that she recorded the footage.
At that time, the centre only had CCTV cameras installed along common corridors, entrances and exits.
Kinderland Singapore announced on Tuesday that it would install more CCTVs at the two centres, including in classrooms and activity areas.
ECDA said on Thursday that the mandatory implementation of CCTV cameras in preschools was not due to the recent incidents on child safety.
“ECDA has planned this move for the preschool sector since last year as part of our regular review of security and safety measures in the early childhood sector,” said the agency.
“This decision is taken after taking in views from parents, educators and operators.”
Kinderland has also since banned staff from using personal devices at worka move which it said will protect the privacy of children at their schools.
In response to CNA’s queries, Kinderland said on Thursday morning that the ban on personal devices was not intended to stop “whistleblowing”.
“By reinforcing the use of only company devices to take photos/videos of children, Kinderland hopes to reduce the tendency to use personal devices for official purposes,” it added.
Follow Us on Google News
#CCTV #cameras #required #preschools #July #parents #request #footage #reasonable #grounds