[ed] CCTVs at daycares

In a slightly radical step to strengthen childcare in the country for childrenfive and younger, the National Assembly has passed the bill mandating closed circuit television (CCTV) at daycares.

It directs that more than 43,000 daycare centers install CCTVs within three months after the law takes effect, and to keep footage for at least 60 days after it is recorded.

Its binding features had evoked debate about daycare workers’ privacy and human rights. But in the end, the shock and outrage prompted by footage from an Incheon daycare where a 33-year-old teacher in January whacked a 4-year-old so hard that she went flying to the floor, ended the argument. The case led to disclosures of other abuses discovered through CCTV footage. According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, abuse at daycares or child-related education centers accounted for 87 percent of Korea’s child abuse cases in 2013.

The bill allows for Internet-linked cameras, which will let parents check on their children in real time, but only with the unanimous consent of the teachers, the daycare operator and parents. It will also bar re-entry to the childcare sector for 20 years of those who have received imprisonment or harsher sentences, and require the employment of a teacher’s aide.

The legislators have embraced fortified measures to lessen the public anxiety about abuse. And they well realize that state-supported childcare in this age group is important, providing what low-income households may not be able to and freeing up women to work.

To its credit, the government provides ? in the form of cash or subsidy ? for childcare either at home or at daycare facilities for childrenfive and younger As a result, about 66 percent of young children agedtwo or younger in Korea are sent to daycares as of late 2014. The figure is more than twofold higher than the 32. 6 percent average of children in the same age group attending daycare in Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development nations. All in all, for the teachers at daycare centers, it comes down to six to 10 children per teacher, depending on the facilities. The combined factors have made providing quality childcare a challenge.

The CCTVs are,however, not a cure-call. Experts and policymakers should think of other ways to improve communication between teachers and parents, and the general state of childcare.

SOURCE: The Korea Times

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