CCTV is the solution

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CCTV is the solution

A number of parents with young kids are increasingly nervous about the revelations of child abuse at day care centers around the country. Korean society now has to deal with a new challenge - how to establish safe day care centers for preschoolers.

If the government wants to increase the number of safe facilities for our young kids, it must take multiple measures, including the improvement of evaluation and certification systems for the centers; toughening the credentials required of teachers; ameliorating working conditions such as long hours and low pay; and strengthening their personality education.

Needless to say, the authorities must immediately shut down day care centers where child abuse cases took place, check what went wrong and ban any teachers involved from working in the field. But one of the most effective - and fundamental - solutions is the mandatory installation of closed-circuit television cameras in all day care centers to increase transparency.

Currently, 9,081 out of more than 43,700 day care centers set up CCTV cameras, but that needs to be applied to all centers across the country. There can be no more reassuring solution than that for parents with children they cannot stay home with.

Some parents may be reluctant to propose the installation of CCTV cameras for fear of a backlash by teachers against their kids. So the obligatory installation of CCTV cameras is the only way to address parents’ deepening distrust with day care centers.

The authorities must force day care centers to keep their CCTV footage for quite a long time and make it public when the need arises. The authorities can also allow parents to see their kids via the Internet. That could be the best solution to prevent any more abuse and build mutual trust between parents and staff.

Some facilities, like the Eye-on Day Care Center at the Sejong Government Complex, have installed CCTV cameras in nearly all spaces - including nursing rooms, corridors and the kitchen - in order to allow parents to watch what’s going on in real time through their smartphones.

The authorities need to borrow the idea for other day care centers. On the part of the employees at the centers, it could be bad news, as it means their every move is being watched by parents. But workers at public corporations, financial institutions and commercial facilities go along with that for the sake of security. There is no reason for teachers to refuse.

JoongAng Ilbo, Jan. 19, Page 30

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