Creepy or just taking precautions? Saudi principal installs cameras in school classrooms
Who is right? The teachers or the parents? (Sabq/File)
A Saudi school principal who outfitted classrooms with surveillance cameras has been criticised by teachers but praised by social media users.
The teachers at an elementary school in Sarat Ubaida in the southwestern part of Saudi Arabia said that the principal did not consult with them or with the local education district before deciding to install the cameras.
They argued that the cameras were a breach of their privacy and damaged their status in front of their students, and called for their immediate removal.
However, the principal turned down the request and insisted on keeping the cameras, prompting the teachers to formally address the authorities to step into the issue and revoke the "arbitrary measure that disrupted the educational and learning processes," Saudi news site Sabq reported on Tuesday.
Most social media users sided with the principal, calling for spreading the concept of cameras inside classrooms to other schools.
"We should have surveillance cameras in all schools and only teachers who have something to hide refuse cameras," Munattaf, a user, posted. "Teachers cannot talk about privacy when they are referring to classrooms since they are public. If they privacy, they should stay home and enjoy it. At the same time, cameras can be used by teachers themselves in case there is an issue with rowdy students or physical assault on them by aggressive students."
Al Dossary said that she welcomed the presence of cameras in classrooms as the best motivator for teachers to excel in their work and for students to behave normally.
"Unfortunately, there are some teachers who have no conscience and abuse the system by not exerting real efforts to educate students.
They usually ask students to do something, anything, and spend their time using their smartphones. Students who tend to be unruly or aggressive will think twice before engaging in any unacceptable behaviour. We support the principal's move and anticipate the installation of surveillance cameras in all schools."
However, a user writing under the moniker of Classic said the principal was wrong and the teachers were right over the issue of the cameras.
"A principal who is keen on sound education and learning should not remain ensconced in his armchair and spy on the teachers and students. The school is not his private property. He should move more often, visit classrooms, sit with teachers and communicate with students directly and openly to find out about issues and contribute with suggestions and solutions," he said.
By Habib Toumi