Hong Kong students have criticised lawmakers’ call for surveillance cameras to be installed in the city’s classrooms to monitor teachers.
Last Friday, Zhang Xiaoming, deputy director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, said the central government would look into ways to “improve” the city’s education system to set “things right”.
Also on Friday education authorities contacted several schools to find out if they had installed CCTV cameras, and if so, where they had obtained them, and where they were situated, according to the SCMP. The schools were also asked whether they had purchased the devices from government subsidies or their own money.
A Form Five student from True Light Girls’ College thinks that students’ feelings have so far been neglected in the issue. “It’s crucial to ask them whether they feel comfortable with it. They also have the right to know whether their privacy is safeguarded,” she said.
She believes that the surveillance will put “unnecessary pressure” on teachers and students because they know that they are being watched. “This would affect the quality of education being delivered,” she said.
A 16-year-old, from YMCA of Hong Kong Christian College, agreed. She said what concerns her the most is that students would lose their sense of freedom.
“Schools may no longer act as a place of liberty and they cannot act and behave as they normally do. Instead, they will be forced to follow the norms unwillingly," she said.
A 17-year-old who is currently being homeschooled said cameras in class would affect students’ mental health, and add to their stress.
“This may alter their behaviour and make them feel like they must be perfect all the time, which could have negative consequences in the long-run. For example, causing anxiety,” Alanna said.
A second year City University of Hong Kong student was worried about who would be looking at the footage and under what circumstances. She also thought that the footage could get into the wrong hands, compromising students’ safety and privacy.