Saturday, September 14, 2013

CCTV Cameras in School Toilets

Another school hit the headlines – again, for the wrong reasons!

The school in question is SMK Seri Sentosa in Jalan Kuchai Lama, Kuala Lumpur and it has caused consternation among parents because in wanting to curb widespread vandalism, it installed fourteen closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in toilets (both male and female) as well as in 40 other strategic locations around the school. It cost the school RM100,000 and it was implemented even before it received approval from the Education Ministry. In fact, the CCTVs were installed in March of this year but parents only got to know about them on Monday. 

Parents were also incensed by the fact that they never received consent letters allegedly sent out by the school in June to seek their approval over the cameras. Calling the move "tasteless", they were shocked that videos of their children were being recorded without their consent. Tasteless? I would call it “obscene”!

The school authorities weren’t concerned about children’s rights. Neither did they care whether this measure was a gross violation of the children’s privacy. Didn’t they know that the Child Act 2001 states that video recordings of children under 18 cannot be made without the parents’ or guardians’ consent?

On Thursday, the Education Ministry has ordered the immediate removal of CCTVs in the toilets and Second Education Minister Idris Jusoh even described this whole exercise as being inappropriate.

What will Malaysian schools think of next?

On Friday, a few of us (from SUBS and one non-SUBS member) went to Sunway Pyramid for a birthday lunch. It was Derek Ong’s turn to become a year older. 

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