UMM AL QAWAIN // Surveillance cameras are to be installed in 14 schools controlled by Umm al Qawain Education Zone to help deter bad behaviour.
Some 140 cameras will be installed this year to complement 90 placed in nine schools last year.
Sheikha Amna al Mualla, the education zone’s director general, said: “We have 23 schools and by the end of this year each school will have 10 monitoring cameras linked directly to the zone.
“The cameras are installed at school gates, parking lots, school compounds, classrooms, corridors and then linked to the authority’s headquarters where the footage can be monitored by administrators.”
She said the decision had been taken to erect more cameras because behaviour in schools was deteriorating.
The cameras installed last year had already caught students smoking, she said. About five cases of student smoking have been detected in the past six months.
“Male students were found smoking mostly in their empty classrooms or in toilets,” she said “They buy these [cigarettes] from groceries and shops in residential areas close to their schools.”
The zone is working with police to identify the shops selling tobacco to students and stop them immediately, she said.
Other issues involving students, to be cracked down on using the cameras, is the use of mobile phones in classrooms, and students wearing inappropriate clothing.
Parents in the emirate said they supported the zone’s efforts to control their children.
“I hate it most if I know that my son or daughter has picked up bad behaviour from school,” said Abu Ahmed al Jassim, a father-of-five.
“We parents can check on our children here at home, limit their movements and discourage them choosing bad friends but we can follow up on these restrictions at school.”