Is it Time for CCTV cameras in Schools?
In the past two weeks, 117 digital literacy tablets have been stolen in two separate incidents at primary schools in Kwale and Trans Nzoia counties, bringing into sharp focus the measures that educational institutions in the country have put in place to deter crime.
Ksh13.4 billion was set aside for the digital literacy program in the 2016/2017 national budget; a resounding statement of intent by the national government to ensure the implementation of the project countrywide. However, the conversation around securing these learning resources in our schools should not be cast aside any longer.
Beyond this, a wave of fire-related incidents that affected over 100 schools and saw thousands of students sent home in 2016 destabilized the country’s education system for months, raising more questions as far as security in schools is concerned. According to Securex General Manager-Technical, Manmeet Singh, schools and policy makers ought to consider the merits of adopting technological security solutions to ensure the safety of students and teachers.
“In the midst of a wave of fire-related incidents in public schools mid-last year, there were calls from sections of Parliament to install CCTV systems in public boarding schools. While there will of course be challenges when it comes to implementing such policies, we believe that it is high time that we look into how safe our children are while they learn,” said Singh.
Schools such as Limuru Model Primary School in Kiambu, Karima Boys High School in Othaya, and Nyangwa High School in Embu have received significant media coverage after implementing security measures, such as CCTV and guard dogs, to enhance safety in their institutions. The adoption of CCTV surveillance has been credited with not only enhancing security, but also with fostering a culture of discipline that has resulted in better performance by both students and teachers. Improved security also gives parents a peace of mind because they know that their children are well protected.
Further to this, CCTV systems allow schools to deter crime and provide crucial evidence in prosecuting any offenders, while also giving investigating officers valuable insight into the tips and tricks that offenders use when committing crimes. In the case of active monitoring of CCTV feeds, one can also mobilise faster response to any security incidents caught on camera, averting many potential incidents before they occur.
“The model adopted by Nyangwa High School where CCTV footage is monitored in real-time by two teachers while the school principal reviews the footage after hours, is ideal. The advantage with active monitoring is that it allows for faster response to security incidents,” Mr. Singh noted.
Of particular concern in recent weeks has been the security incidents noted during the just-concluded party primaries, especially given that many public schools doubled up as polling stations during the primaries and will likely do so again during the general elections in August.
“It might also be worth noting that many public schools will be used as polling stations during the national elections in August, posing an added risk to security in these areas. We already noted a number of incidents during last month’s party primaries in some of our schools,” said Senior Operations Manager at Securex, John Ogutu.