Install CCTV cameras on campus: Maharashtra government tells schools

Following several incidents of sexual assault on children, Maharashtra government is making it mandatory for all schools to install CCTV on campus to ensure safety of children.

The order which comes following a court order in this regard is mandatory for all schools irrespective of whichever board they are affiliated to and for all mediums, whether government or private. The step has been welcomed by all, but few schools have mentioned about financial issues in implementing the order.

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Following a Public Internet Litigation (PIL) in the Bombay High Court regarding increasing instances of sexual assault on school children, the court had suggested to the state that all schools should be under CCTV surveillance to ensure safety. Taking cognisance of the same, a circular has been issued to schools making CCTV installation mandatory. According to the circular, local education inspectors will also be responsible for taking periodical survey of the installation.

The state govt order states:
Following the HC's suggestion, it is now mandatory for all schools to have themselves under CCTV surveillance. In private schools, the managements will be responsible to install the service in school. Schools can identify vulnerable areas and begin the installation from there. Local education officers will be responsible for undertaking periodical review of the installed service and presenting a report to the office of deputy director of education, every six months.

Schools react
Prashan Redij, spokesperson of the principals' association, welcoming the move, said, "Considering recent events, this is certainly a much-required step. More importantly, with government issuing such an order, ways to raise funds for CCTV installation expenditure have increased as several individuals or associations will be willing to contribute to it."

He further added, “Having school under CCTV surveillance is advantageous to avoid or control any kind of malicious activities happening on campus against students, teachers or even principal for that matter."

Principal of St. Mary's School, Mazgaon, Francis Swamy, said, "This has become an essential commodity in schools in order to ensure safety. Each school can decide on their own how many CCTVs can they install, beginning from the most vulnerable areas of the campus."

While schools have welcomed the move, they are also worried of raising finances to install the system. “The government’s order is welcoming as it serves a much complex need. But, the order could have been more specific about how it can be implemented. Installing technology on school campus is a costly affair. With mandatory orders, government could also have explained how to raise funds for it. Private schools can at least charge more fees, but for aided schools it is going to be a task to manage finances for it."

What parents feel
Parents are really happy with the news. Ajay Sathe, whose child studies in New English School Dadar, said, “This is thoughtful. Not only will it deter people from indulging into untoward activities, it will also be a good system to have a record of knowing what is truth."

Another parent, Minakshi Raut, whose son studies in seventh standard of St. Francis School, Borivli, added, “Schools cannot give finances as an excuse now to implement the system. I am sure parents will be happy to shell more in the fee structure to help school install this much important commodity.”

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