Will CCTV cameras help eliminate physical abuse incidents at schools?

Many parents have urged schools to install CCTV (closed circuit television) cameras in classes to prevent teachers’ abuse of students, but experts say the it will not solve the problem.

On education forums, parents say that teachers will understand that their behavior in school is supervised, and that cameras will also help provide proof, if necessary.

The Hanoi Education and Training Department has also encouraged schools to install cameras with connections to the local police to prevent fire and explosions and to ensure traffic safety in schools  and adjacent areas.

However, teachers oppose the idea.

Do Thi Dung, a teacher at Duong Lieu Secondary School in Hanoi, said cameras are useless, and they may bring unwanted effects.

“Teachers’ unsuitable behavior may be exaggerated and teachers’ honor may be bullied. Bad students may exploit cameras to become ‘famous’,” she said.

A teacher at the Phung Khac Khoan High School in Thach That district in Hanoi said cameras will not help settle the problem, because there are always ‘dead angles’ and cameras cannot cover everything.

“If teachers intend to beat students, they will do this in places where there is no camera,” she said.

The existence of cameras in classrooms will affect the quality of lessons.

“No one wants to do things under the supervision of others. Teachers will feel as if they are prisoners of war,” she said. “This, plus pressure from parents, will discourage teachers.”

Meanwhile, psychologists side with teachers. 

“This is a solution which may turn us into jailers and prisoners,” said Vu Thu Huong, a lecturer of the Hanoi University of Education. 

“If a teacher makes a mistake and beats students, let him stand in front of the entire class and apologize for his fault. Students must be taught that the law is fair and applies to everyone,” she said.

“Cameras will be useless,” Huong said, adding that cameras may do more harm than good.

Teacher quality needs to improve, Huong said.

A preschool teacher who was caught abusing a child said she did not do this purposely, and that she just tried to threaten to throw the child over the window because the child suffered from anorexia.

In this case, the preschool teacher did not does not have the necessary pedagogical skills and could not find a proper solution to persuade the child to eat his lunch.