The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) announced previously that preschools in Singapore will be required to install closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras from Jul. 1, 2024.
During the parliamentary hearing on Sep. 18, Minister for Social and Family Development Sun Xueling addressed concerns from Members of Parliament (MPs) regarding the new mandate.
Why mandate not enforced earlier
Regarding why the mandate is not enforced earlier than the stipulated deadline of Jul. 1, 2024, Sun stated that preschools require time to procure and install the CCTVs correctly and identify suitable locations to place the cameras.
Currently, 60% of preschool operators and almost 100% of early intervention centres already have CCTV in place, she added.
"What we want to do when we announce a policy for something that's mandatory is that we must ensure that operators on the ground are fully equipped to be able to do it appropriately and properly," she explained.
ECDA has also issued a set of guidelines to facilitate the implementation of CCTVs, in which they stipulated that CCTVs should be placed in venues such as classrooms, activity rooms, play areas, and infant napping rooms.
Sun also encouraged centres to comply with the mandate earlier:
"Please install CCTVs earlier if you can."
Possibility of tampering with footages
According to ECDA, parents should view any recorded footage "only after the preschool has viewed it as part of its own investigation" in light of any incidents.
MP of Marsiling–Yew Tee GRC Hany Soh raised concerns about the possibility of CCTV footage being tampered with before parents review it and the possibility that child mismanagement incidents may occur in blind spots not captured by CCTVs.
She asked how such concerns from parents would be properly addressed.
Sun responded that it is a criminal offence to tamper with CCTV footage.
"If any operator were to tamper with the footage because they want to obscure wrongdoing or to cover up wrongdoing, please rest assured that the authorities will take firm action against such operators," she assured.
Top photos from MCI/Youtube and Khine Zin Htet/Mothership