Singapore mandates CCTV for early childhood
The Sector > Quality > In The Field > Singapore mandates CCTV for ECEC services from 1 July 2024: is Australia next?

Singapore mandates CCTV for ECEC services from 1 July 2024: is Australia next?

by Freya Lucas

September 11, 2023

Government-funded preschools and early intervention (EI) services in Singapore must be fitted with closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras from 1 July, 2024.


Since last year, the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) which functions in a similar manner to the state and territory based regulatory authorities in Australia has been engaging the preschool sector, parents, and educators as part of its regular review of security and safety measures in the early childhood sector.


CCTV cameras are quite common in Singapore, with many EI and preschool services already using the technology. More than 60 per cent of preschools, for example, have some form of CCTV. 


In justifying the decision the ECDA said that CCTV cameras will enhance the security of EI and preschool settings “by deterring suspicious or unauthorised persons from entering the premises”.


“In the event of incidents, CCTV footage can be an objective and reliable source of evidence to support the investigation,” information from ECDA continued. 


“The implementation of CCTV cameras will complement existing measures to provide a safe and secure environment in our preschools so parents and educators will have a greater peace of mind.”


CCTV cameras will be required in key access points and areas used by children such as classrooms, activity rooms, play areas and cot rooms. To ensure privacy of staff and children, CCTV cameras will not be allowed in toilets, changing rooms and staff rest areas. 


To support the roll out, the ECDA will share a set of guidelines with preschool operators on 1 September 2023. Services will need to have clear policies and protocols around the CCTV cameras, and that they are installed in line with expectations around protecting children and educators. 


Parents will only be able to access the CCTV footage “for the purposes of providing an objective reference point to clarify feedback or to assist the investigation of serious incidents within the preschool premises,” and their requests “should be within reasonable grounds”. A list of (likely) frequently asked questions has also been provided.


While the presence of CCTV in Australian services is at the discretion of the employer, and is not mandated, many services have chosen to install CCTV systems to accurately capture the education and care that is occurring for children in each playroom and outdoor play areas, and to assist educators, families and children to  address concerns, deal with complaints and support investigations, particularly in light of recent incidents relating to children’s health and safety.


Services considering the implementation of such systems should carefully consider how footage and information captured by the system will be used and stored. Providers should also review the Australian Privacy Principles and all requirements under Australia’s privacy CCTV Policy  law. There are some Commonwealth, State and territory laws that restrict the use of listening, optical, data and tracking surveillance devices which should also be considered.

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