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End of learning as we know it

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End of learning as we know it

by Adri-Ann Peters
12 Sep 2007
Peoples Post
Peoples Post

With the introduction of new closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras in a number of city schools, it seems not much will be left up to the imagination regarding the daily goings on in our state-run schools.

And this development will of course present school children with far less opportunity to hide the expensive new gadgets they bring to school from their teacher, only because they thought it would score them a few "popularity points" with their classmates.

The new move also suggests an end to the classroom environment as we know it.

Now it would seem, much like the reality show Big Brother, the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) will peer over our children's shoulders at 60 schools in the city where CCTV cameras will be introduced.

The names of these schools have not yet been released. Surveillance to be introduced on playgrounds and classrooms is meant to ensure that volatile students or outsiders do not resort to inappropriate violence or vandalism while they're on the school premises.

Provincial education head, MEC Cameron Dugmore, announced recently that these gadgets would be installed as early as November.

It follows the view that schools have become too dangerous, what with gangsterism, drugs and crimes like murder and serious assaults infiltrating schools in certain parts of the city.

But many will agree that surveillance at schools is a good idea (and I would be one of them,) given the violent reality we have come to contend with.

What is really tragic is the very fact that we as a society would have to resort to such tactics at schools.

Have we really come to operate in a day and age where even our children are treated as prime crime suspects?

Whatever happened to times where the biggest evil one was likely to commit at school would be bunking class behind prefab walls with one's friends?

Whatever happened to the ideal where schools are understood to be environments that lend itself to growth and development?

How likely are schools in our areas to become ideal candidates for the introduction of these cameras?

But more important I think is the question: What can parents do to make sure our schools never do, aside from the threat presented by forces other than the learners themselves?

A move to introduce cameras in our schools inevitably reveals in part that our children are growing up far more rapidly than we could ever have imagined. Just look, for example, at the sex scandal in mall toilets recently.

With all these new developments, I must say the prospect of raising children - to me, at least - is becoming increasingly scary.

It raises the question if one would even want to put one's child (or yourself) through all the challenges of raising them.

That is if their places of learning - where they're supposed to be enriching themselves - poses a threat.

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