Themba Kojana, provincial Education Department head, expressed shock in a recent circular that schools had these cameras in consulting rooms, describing the practice as an infringement of learners’ privacy.
“Any form of surveillance or recording device, either video or video and sound, monitoring these areas, occupied or utilised by professionals, where they conduct screening, assessment and intervention to learners and their families, is an infringement of their practice and legal obligation to provide private and confidential services.”
Kojana reminded the schools that educational psychologists, clinical psychologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech therapists, audiologists, counsellors, psychometrists, dietitians, nurses and social workers were bound by norms of ethical conduct.
“If these professionals have to utilise shared facilities, all forms of surveillance/monitoring should be disconnected for the duration of the sessions.
“If these cannot be removed/disconnected, then the professional cannot legally perform their duties, and alternative private areas, free of surveillance, need to be secured,” said Kojana.
He ordered schools with policies allowing CCTVs in consulting rooms to review them with immediate effect.
“In the case where schools are developing a policy for the use of CCTV and surveillance equipment, please ensure compliance with these instructions.”
Kojana urged the professionals to report to him schools infringing privacy rights with CCTV cameras, reminding them that they were obligated by their professional code of conduct to do so.
“It is important that the legal and ethical regulations related to the registration and professional code of conduct of healthcare and social service professionals providing these services in schools are respected and complied with, as per this circular.”