In a recent article for The Indian Express, Akshay Marathe, a member of Delhi government’s Dialogue and Development Commission task force on school education, defended the government’s project to install CCTV cameras inside all classrooms in state schools. Marathe, echoing the Delhi government, gave two aims of the project: crime deterrence, and disciplining students. His defence is, kindly put, problematic. A response: 1. Education's aim isn't just disciplinary: While a school is meant to teach discipline, it is also the space where students can make mistakes and subsequently learn from them. Creating panopticons inside schools instills fear, not values. 2. Classrooms aren't public spaces either: Marathe is right that “classrooms cannot be classified as private”. However, schools are not as public as a footpath: the expectation of relative privacy is what allows students the freedom to express themselves, make mistakes,…
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