Surveillance cameras are being installed in the lecture halls of Sun Yat-sen University in southern China. The motive is to enhance the quality of teaching, monitor examinations and ensure campus security, the university says. However, the move raises privacy concerns, and is opposed by many students.
In my opinion, installing CCTV in universities is not justifiable. I agree that it is a double-edged sword.
Firstly, it puts pressure on teachers as well as students. Teachers have to be at their most professional all the time; otherwise, they could get fired. Students, on the other hand, have to perform really well and always “pretend” to be attentive in class. If not, they could be scolded by their teachers or the higher management. So if what the teachers and students do in their lessons are all fake, what’s the purpose of installing CCTV? How can the quality of teaching be enhanced? Despite the good intentions, the move may have a negative impact on teaching and learning.
Secondly, there’s the question of privacy, which is very important to all of us. We do not like to be monitored by strangers without our permission for obvious reasons. With the installation of CCTV, students and the public will change their views about the university, which is said to be more liberal than other colleges in Guangdong province. Given the situation, many high achievers may choose not to study at the university.
I believe there are other ways to “refine a teaching monitoring mechanism” and “deepen education reform and improve the quality of talent training”.
I suggest that teachers’ salaries should be increased and students who show improvement should be rewarded with scholarships. With these incentives, both students and teachers will strive to do their best during lessons. There wouldn’t be any “acting”.