How Safe are Kids in their Schools?
Country Manager - India, Edimax Technologies
Schools are organized spaces where it is believed the young ones are taught discipline while being prepared for future. But, even these Center of Learning existing for aegis have not been spared. Their security concerns range from bomb threats, gangs, vandalism, bullying etc. VARINDIA in its thirteenth anniversary issue attempts to study the current security threats polluting the School environments
Today's news channels are full of crime reports. It seems as if everybody is busy in some or the other fraudulent or criminal activity. In fact crime rate against Children has significantly increased in the last decade. Child labor and kidnapping are serious issues. No-no, please don't feel that I am deviating from my topic. I am very much on the track, now let me talk of the crime rates inside the close walls but a public place. We read and hear the reports of Corporal punishments which have led to permanent physical disability or death in some extreme cases. Right, I am talking of schools. Some times suicides are committed in school premises, or sexual harassment by teachers or amongst students. Over and above these incident, even schools are the most vulnerable areas for a terrorist attack. So how safe is your child once he steps out of home and enters the school is a million dollar question.
Digitization in educational sector started after the announcement of E-governance however, the adoption of new technologies has been slow in this vertical. Surveillance in schools has been particularly slow except for some private schools. "Schools like any institution have their own set of spending in terms of technologies and surveillance has not been very high on the priority lists. The importance of the technologies are still very vaguely understood by this vertical as no strict rules have been set by the authorities to monitor the development in this sector," informs Eric Yang Country Manager - India, Edimax Technologies.
Need for Surveillance!
Any education institute is under two kind of threats: External and Internal. Be it any form of misconduct by student or teachers or management, the very feeling that your every move is being captured curtails many of them. "In the olden times the need for surveillance was probably not beyond a teacher's observation and intervention. Ever since, one factor that is constantly changing is the aggressiveness within the schools," shares Yogesh Dutta Vice President – Security BU (SAARC Region), Aditya Infotech Ltd.
In the age of digitalization, campuses are still relying on manned guarding as the physical security creates deterrents in student's mind and they get anxious before breaking any rules or committing any crime at the campus. However, it has its own limitations as it's difficult for security personnel to be present at all times.
With advent of new technology in security, hi tech security can prove to be boon for educational institutions. With Intelligent Surveillance Solutions & Video Analytics, Digital Security can provide far better solutions than Manned Security. In India schools and education institutions are gradually improving the security standards after incidents of suicides and deaths due to ragging etc. Now a days security concerns are on everyone's mind be it the students, parents or the school teachers and officials. Therefore, many schools and colleges have already taken a step ahead by installing intelligent security solution to safeguard its people, premise and its own brand image.
|Yogesh Dutta |
VP - Security BU (SAARC Region), Aditya Infotech Ltd.
|Hemendu Sinha Business Head, B2B Sales, LG India||Sudhindra Holla, Country Manager, Axis Communications India|
Electronic Security: Pros & Cons
The supreme court of India in 2001 has banned corporal punishment in schools but the practice is still rampant. Corporal punishment has become a common feature in Indian schools. Many painful stories of corporal punishment have been reported from various schools in India in the recent years. AT the same time, the student offenses include physical attacks or fights; use of alcohol or use of illegal drugs; use or possession of a firearm or explosive device or a weapon.
"Investment in surveillance camera systems ensures parents that the security of their kids is being addressed during the school hours and during the after-school extracurricular activities. The presence of highly visible CCTV cameras at strategic places also acts as a possible deterrent to the criminals from indulging in any illegal activities. Even bullying and all other sorts of harassment can be checked with surveillance," added Hemendu Sinha, Business Head, B2B Sales, LG India.
In educational institutes, intelligent video surveillance helps to secure these facilities, monitoring suspicious behavior and unauthorized access. Now, lot of video analytics based surveillance can be placed at various spots like campus boundaries, libraries etc. While there are many potential benefits to using video analytics, the main aim of the technology is to enable surveillance systems to not just capture video footage for post-event investigation, but to actually detect suspicious activity as it happens at campuses. As a result, they automate many investigative tasks such as facial recognition, abandoned object analysis etc. Yogesh Dutta shared that at Aditya they provide surveillance system that allows campus officials to view live video from cameras at different campuses simultaneously with high-quality and low-latency images. If any unfortunate event occurs in campus, authorized college administrators, security officials, and local police can all access live video remotely without degrading the video performance.
Manual surveillance falls ridiculously short as, in a school with hundreds of students, it's not possible to keep an eye out for each student. "While many might argue that video surveillance is an invasion of their privacy, it can nevertheless be denied that it has become a vital importance in the society we live in. A CCTV camera can not only add greater security by alarming and discouraging the criminals but can also attribute to finding answers in case a mishap does occur", added Hemendu from LG.
There is hardly any de-merit in deploying surveillance system in schools rather there are challenges in adoption. Elaborating further to what Hemendu from LG shared, Sudhindra Holla, Country Manager, Axis Communications India said, "Besides alleging CCTV with privacy intervention, cost factor and lack of technical know-how. Technology is considered to be a high-investment affair compared to manual surveillance."
He further shared that While educational institutions across the world are increasingly adopting surveillance to improve the security provided to students and staff, the Indian education vertical is yet to gain momentum, majorly due to unawareness and uncertainty.
The significance of security & surveillance systems has changed over the years. Security today has become a major concern for most individuals/ organization, given the increase in number of crime rates in recent times. This is precisely where technology plays a major role in curbing such gruesome incidences & also in tracking crucial evidences. Recent increase in te rrorist acts has significantly influenced the way one considers the need for adequate levels of security. As a result, electronic security apparatus is creating a niche for them in the market. Crime in schools and colleges is one of the most troublesome social problems in the Nation today. Not only does it affect those involved in the criminal incident, but it also hinders societal growth and stability. In that light, it is vital to understand the trends in crime in schools or any educational institute. Surveillance is undoubtedly means to combat and reduce the amount of crime occurring at these institutions. The cameras can also help to improve behaviour of the students, improve productivity of students and teachers both.
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