The decision to install CCTV cameras in classrooms is perhaps informed by the desire to increase accountability of both teachers and students, with regard to whether and how well they dispense of their respective duties.
The AAP government in Delhi has undeniably done a commendable job of rebuilding the national capital’s broken public education system—infrastructure has been modernised, capacity of teaching staff increased, and learning outcomes improved. However, the government’s latest endeavour, of installing CCTV cameras in every classroom in a thousand government schools and allowing parents to monitor footage in real-time, has divagated into the territory of extremes. Even if one keeps privacy aside—chief minister Arvind Kehriwal insists it is not a valid concern for school-going students in comparison to their primary goals of gaining education and learning discipline—the adverse impacts of the panopticism it would foster cannot be disregarded. Kejriwal’s dependence on technology as the one-stop solution to systemic problems is not only misguided but also counter-productive in more ways than one.
The decision to install CCTV cameras in classrooms is perhaps informed by the desire to increase accountability of both teachers and students, with regard to whether and how well they dispense of their respective duties. Yet, it fails to take into account the sheer logistical burden of continually monitoring the goings-on of each classroom. Even with the DGS Live app, which allows parents to monitor only those classes in which their children study, it is absurd to expect that all parents will be equipped to judge pedagogy and performance or to be glued to their mobile screens for as long as the school-day lasts. And, if this is the expectation, the government is encouraging behaviour that would end up stifling students’ personality development—a critical component of holistic education.
Further, it neglects the notion of creative and personal teaching and learning styles, thereby cramping the space available for young minds to be critical, explorative and truly nurtured. To the contrary, in fact, it encourages dry pedagogy and rote learning, resulting neither in improved outcomes on standardised testing nor in the development of any love for learning.