SINGAPORE: Preschool chain Kinderland has announced that it has decided to ban its teachers from using their personal mobile devices during work hours in a bid to safeguard the privacy of their wards better.
It said on Instagram: “Kinderland reiterates using the Pre-School Management App with authorised company-issued devices. To also prevent the misuse of photos and videos of our children, Kinderland will now make it a policy that staff not use their personal devices during teaching hours. We hope that these measures will better protect all.”
The post came hours after the preschool chain responded to concerns about child ill-treatment at its Woodlands Mart outlet after three videos showing a teacher rough-handling her students went viral on social media.
The teacher has since been fired and was arrested on Tuesday (29 Aug). She has been charged in court for ill-treatment of a child.
Kinderland officially responded to the scandal on Wednesday (30 Aug) and said: “Kinderland wishes to assure the public and parents that we remain committed to upholding the trust you have placed in us for 45 years. The incidents in question are being investigated by the relevant authorities.
Internally, we have conducted/are conducting our own inquiries and have dismissed one teacher and suspended the other (for now). We have also reached out to the parents of the affected children. We are profoundly grateful to the parents who have accepted our apology and remedial measures.
The welfare of all children under our care remains the utmost priority. Let us continue to work together constructively for our children to grow holistically.”
Just three hours later, it revealed its new phone policy for teachers. Kinderland’s latest move has fallen short in light of the controversy, according to parents and onlookers on social media.
A significant group of Singaporeans online questioned the attitude of the school management and accused the chain of completely ignoring the key concerns surrounding the incident.
One netizen said, “You should hire a PR because this announcement is a joke,” while another said: “You think the video is causing these problems? Luckily my child is not in your school.”
Some said that the way the chain handles the controversy is disgraceful, while another asked: “How do you say this is protecting everyone? (This says) I just want to keep things out of the public eye and protect myself instead of my children.”