SINGAPORE: In the wake of a teacher’s dismissal and subsequent arrest for child ill-treatment at a Kinderland preschool outlet, the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) has announced that the installation of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras will be mandatory in all preschools and government-funded early intervention (EI) centres, from 1 July 2024.
In a statement issued by the ECDA on Thursday (31 Aug), the agency said, “The CCTV mandate is part of our ongoing review of security and safety measures in the early childhood sector and takes into account the insights of parents, educators, and preschool operators.”
Currently, more than 60 per cent of preschools and 100 per cent of EI centres have already installed CCTV cameras within their premises. The primary aim of this initiative is to deter unauthorized personnel from entering preschools and to provide an objective and reliable source of evidence in case of incidents.
These cameras will be situated in critical access points and areas utilized by children, such as classrooms, activity rooms, play areas, and infant napping rooms. To uphold the privacy of staff and children, the installation of CCTV cameras in toilets, changing rooms, and staff rest areas will not be permitted.
The ECDA has established a clear timeline for this mandate to facilitate a smooth transition. Preschool operators will receive a set of comprehensive guidelines on Friday (1 Sept) detailing the installation and usage of CCTV systems.
ECDA added that parents’ access to CCTV footage will be granted solely for specific purposes, such as addressing feedback or assisting in investigating serious incidents within the preschool premises. The agency added that this access will only be permitted on reasonable grounds.
ECDA said: “Keeping our preschools safe is a joint responsibility. As part of ongoing efforts to ensure the safety of children, ECDA works with educational institutes and training providers to incorporate child safe practices in the training curriculum for early childhood educators.
In their pre-service and in-service training, educators learn about appropriate child management strategies as well as practices prohibited under our regulations. ECDA also promotes sharing of good child management practices among educators during our regular engagements with the sector and visits to preschools.”
Staff or parents suspecting cases of child mismanagement are urged to report their concerns to ECDA at email@example.com.