Big brother is watching you: Cameras installed in Abu Dhabi schools
Bullying can hold children back from achieving their full potential. (Alamy/Telegraph)
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All of Abu Dhabi's public schools will have security cameras installed by the end of this year. So far, 138 schools in the emirate have installed surveillance cameras, and 73 more will have them by the end of 2016. Another 49 schools have cameras, but they need updating.
According to the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec), closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras were introduced in schools since November 2013, in an effort to spot and tackle bad behaviour such as bullying and fighting.
No particular incident had triggered the move, but violence among school children, particularly boys, is a general issue across schools.
"A well-implemented CCTV solution serves as a powerful deterrent in preventing or identifying unauthorised intruders, improper behaviour and misconduct, thereby promoting school security," read a statement for Khaleej Times from the Adec's information technology division.
"The solution also plays a major role in protecting school assets from theft and intentional damage. Video footage provides six months of recorded history, which allows school administrators and local authorities with an excellent tool to investigate potential incidents within the school premises," added the statement. Some 9,300 surveillance cameras have been installed so far in the 138 public schools. The CCTVs are set up in school corridors, stairs, playgrounds, sports halls, buses and the surroundings of the school building.
The project is being implemented as per the specifications of the local authority in Abu Dhabi government, in coordination with the Abu Dhabi Police and National Authority for Emergency, Crises and Disaster Management.
"I have two girls who go to a public school in Musaffah. Initially, when I heard the school was installing cameras, I was against it. My concern was for school girls being filmed ... which didn't seem right to me, but then the school's principal explained to me it is all for the girls' security, making sure they are okay at all times," said Noora Al Matrooshi, an Emirati mother. "Also, the cameras are not placed in the washrooms or even classrooms, only in open spaces, and it's all done within the legal framework, so I feel more at ease about the safety of my daughters in school," she added.
Back in 2013, the Adec had requested all private schools in Abu Dhabi emirate to instal CCTV cameras.
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