More cameras for schools
By ANDRE BAGOO Friday, October 5 2012
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RECORDED: Surveillance cameras, such as this one seen in a public school in the United States, will be a normal feature in local schools as Government...
THE STATE will spend about $50 million on a basket of measures in the education sector including the installation of CCTV cameras at school, a new education TV channel and a new computer network, Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh said yesterday.
“All of this is subject to open tender,” Gopeesingh said at a post-Cabinet press-briefing held at the Office of the Prime Minister, St Clair. He said CCTV cameras will be installed at key points within school compounds and at the fences of school compounds in an aim to prevent vandalism and trespassing. The camera footage would be monitored remotely by private security firms.
CCTV (closed circuit cameras) were introduced in the Grant Memorial Presbyterian School, San Fernando, in April in the wake of a bullying incidentse which saw a student almost choked to death. There have also been proposals to install metal-detectors at schools.
Gopeesingh, however, insisted this measure would not affect employment of security guards at schools who would, he said, be absorbed into other areas such as health and safety. At the same time, he said security costs – currently at $250 million – would be reduced to about $30 to $40 million, but could not give details of cost savings.
Gopeesingh said a television station for broadcast to schools would be set up with educational programming.
“This is the first time this type of system is going to be put forward in the Caribbean,” he said. “This will be a television channel dedicated for education.”
He said the station would broadcast to 476 primary schools.
A fibre optic network would also be set up to connect school networks, allowing schools access to 25-30 megabyte Wi-Fi (wireless local area) networks. The education minister estimated these things would cost “$40 million to $50 million”.
Gopeesingh admitted hitches in relation to the distribution of some school textbooks this term but noted the books are being printed by local printers.
“It is the first time that the large printers have been given the opportunity to print the textbooks in Trinidad,” he said. “Previously a lot of these books were printed in China and I think there might have been a reduced cost.”