“If CCTV is to be ‘introduced’ to the classrooms, will it ‘safeguard’ or ‘impede’ students’ learning?” | 是「保障」還是「窒礙」學生學習? 假如將CCTV「引進」課室……

“If CCTV is to be ‘introduced’ to the classrooms, will it ‘safeguard’ or ‘impede’ students’ learning?”

by Mr. Wong Wai Yu, Michael, Honorary Executive Secretary

29 March 2021

Have you ever seriously thought about what will happen to students’ learning in the lessons if CCTV is being installed in the classrooms?

Imagine that you are a student, either your beloved child or any young one that you care much about.  You will spend most of the time 5 days in a week in lessons either in the actual classroom or on the internet.  Just Imagine that you suddenly realize that CCTV cameras are everywhere in the classroom and your every move will be instantaneously recorded non-stop, the recording of which will be checked and replayed through the internet …  How would you feel?  Would you be more comfortable or worried to learn in front of the cameras?

We all understand how important a safe environment is to a student’s healthy development.  CCTV is something which originally does not belong to the classroom.  If it is installed there with such a high profile and haste and when all-time recording for monitoring proposes becomes a classroom routine, is this a blessing to students’ learning or a curse?

Imagine that you are a gifted and active child.  Once, you were unexpectedly called by the teacher to answer a question.  You then gave a very funny answer through natural responses and all your classmates looked around and laughed at you.  Worse still, this episode was captured or clipped and uploaded, posted and reposted on the internet.  In that way, a several-second interesting classroom episode becomes the hot talk in the city, the public’s comments on which are beyond your control. Would you still be responsive in class or would you just remain quiet ever since?

Also imagine that you are a student with special educational needs who dislikes being watched all the time especially when you are learning something on your own.  Now, you are being watched and your every move is exposed to the eyes of numerous strangers beyond the classroom.  This CCTV may become your lingering nightmare …

Because of the CCTV, many students will be troubled by the shame of making mistakes in public eyes and they would therefore shy away from any endeavours which are conducive to their learning.  At the same time, there are some who will go to the other extreme in resisting either actively or passively the CCTV which they perceive as oppression from the authority. This will certainly hamper the lively and interactive lessons and cordial student-teacher relationship. Subsequently, the learning process will be seriously warped and students’ learning effectiveness greatly undermined.

Some might say that CCTV cameras in classrooms will only be on the teacher who stands in front of the blackboard, the clear purpose of which is to monitor teachers’ teaching.  Yet, will this not really affect students’ learning?  Those who are keen to monitor teachers through CCTV cameras do not really understand today’s classrooms.  Will teachers today still only stand in front of the classroom without walking around to attend to students’ individual needs?  Is teaching and learning in the classroom still one-way with teachers’ monologue and students’ quiet listening?  Following teachers with cameras when they walk around the classrooms will also capture students’ every move.  Is this really good to students’ learning?

Dr. Choi Yuk Lin, the Under Secretary for Education, has been a front-line teacher and served as a school principal.  She has also joined educational visits before with other local educators in some advanced areas and observed their practices.  Therefore, she certainly knows the downside of installing CCTV in classrooms.  Her recent comments on the concerns over the issue in the Legislative Council clearly reflect the concerns shared in the education sector. 

What is more, there are a number of seemingly trivial issues which should be handled seriously. Just to name a few – How and where to install those cameras?  Who has the right and when to view the recording?  Are there any management protocols and yardsticks?  Under what circumstances and who can or cannot view the recordings?  Are there any procedures to follow up complaints?  How can Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance be fully observed?  All these are time and energy consuming.  Besides, the most fundamental question is: Why should we drain all our time and energy to handle this CCTV issue which is entirely not related to students’ learning?

No matter what your present work or job nature is, you can perhaps put yourself into the shoes of the teachers who have to stand in front of the CCTV cameras all day long.

Imagine that you are aspired after becoming a good teacher, willing to devote your time to education and take good care of each and every one of your students.  However, now people are telling you that teachers are not trusted no matter how good you are.  How would you feel about this?  The full-scale monitoring of teachers through CCTV connotes distrust and disrespect for all teachers.  Can anyone in any profession fully do well and accomplish one’s aspiration in such a climate?  Furthermore, who will be able to assess whether there are any problems of a teacher’s teaching just based on the monitoring?  When anyone with their own subjectivity or perspectives can evaluate or monitor classroom teaching, how great the blow would this be on the teaching profession?

Has the identity of a teacher become an original sin?  Attributing all social problems to schools and over-generalizing the underperformance or misconduct of very few teachers would be detrimental to the teaching profession.  Who would benefit from the destructive act to penalize the majority of good teachers just because of the very few who do not do well?

It has been the worries of our Executive Committee that over-monitoring, including through CCTV, will bring political contentions into the classrooms, and thus reducing education professionalism to laymen leadership.  With such explicit or implicit actions and their motives behind, will teachers be forced to resort to very rigid and dogmatic teaching methods by just following the book, resulting in spoon-feeding teaching and learning as well as business-like student-teacher relationship?  Is this something that we would like to see?  Is Hong Kong determined to run in the opposite direction from its international counterparts and totally ignore the learning efficacy of students?  Will Hong Kong blindly chase the illusory sense of security through the ‘teacher-proof curriculum’ which has been proved impractical and futile by many previous studies? 

Besides the negative impacts on students and teachers mentioned above, schools, the government and the whole society have the responsibility to engage in very cautious and painstaking deliberations on the undesirable and far-reaching impacts on the education system lest the decision made today should inflict irreversible harm.

Our Executive Committee and I are extremely concerned about the mental health burdens of our students.  According to a report released last year in the international journal The Lancet by the medical team of The University of Hong Kong, 1 in every 5 people in Hong Kong suffer from probable depression or suspected post-trauma stress disorder.  This finding tallies with reports by many other experts in the field – the psychological pressure on students and teachers is on the rise! There was also a wide media coverage on this issue last week.  According to the figures provided by the Education Bureau, there is a sharp increase in the number of suspected suicide and depression cases compared to years before.  Figures from the Hospital Authority also reveal that patients under 18 who are diagnosed with various psychiatric problems are as high as 40,350 in the year 2019/20.  On top of this, we have to be aware that the number of those who have not sought medical consultation or used the services of the Hospital Authority cannot even be estimated.  No matter what the underlying causes for these mental health burdens are, the introduction of CCTV in classrooms will certainly be the last straw when all are facing the plight of COVID-19 and social dissensions.

CCTV in classrooms will be a great blow to the education reform as well.  Ever since 2000, the education of Hong Kong has entered a new milestone and the development is in line with the education reform endeavours all over the world.  Since then, teachers’ mindset has been shifted and innovative pedagogies adopted to facilitate and unleash students’ learning capacity.  Actually, Hong Kong’s education reform efforts and the professionalism of teachers have won the high acclaims of international education institutions and organizations such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) team and McKinsey & Company.  If CCTV is installed in the classrooms for the purpose to monitor teachers, the dignity and integrity of the teaching force will be greatly undermined.  Teachers’ morale will be hampered by this micro-management process, which will definitely dwindle the room for teachers’ professionalism and innovation.

Keeping such a high profile on monitoring teachers by external parties is not in line with our noble Chinese culture in paying tribute and respect to teachers.  In the future, if anyone from any profession is suspected to be under-performing, would that profession be required to install CCTV for round-the-clock monitoring?  Should this disrespect for teacher further go on unchecked, who would be willing to become a teacher?  Who would be helping to implement the education reform, to unleash students’ motivation in learning, to help them better prepare for their future, to build up a better society and contribute to our country?  Introducing CCTV into the classrooms does not only result in retrogression but more seriously it also trades off the golden opportunities for students to learn in a pleasant environment which values diversities.  This will eventually lead to the loss in the momentum for sustainable development in Hong Kong. 

We cannot help but ask if it is really necessary to enforce the ‘introduction’ of CCTV?  Is it really worth doing so?  Is the ‘introduction’ beneficial to the growth and development of our students whom we love and care so much?  The senior officer of the Education Bureau has already raised to the public the concerns and objections against such an introduction, which exactly tally with views from the education sector.  Therefore, it is about time to stop discussing the issue further.

Those who are deliberating any action to intervene education should think carefully: Will what is proposed realize or destroy the ideals of education?

Do think carefully!  What will also be ‘introduced’ together with the ‘introduction’ of CCTV into the classrooms?  Greater distrust?  Greater discomfort, instability, negative energy, chaos or confusion?  We have to really discern whether the “introduction’ will safeguard or impede students’ learning.

Each and every one of us should be very honest and ask ourselves: Will students, i.e. our children, eventually be the beneficiaries or victims of such a move?

是「保障」還是「窒礙」學生學習? 假如將CCTV「引進」課室……








也許有人會說課室CCTV只會對著站在黑板前的老師一人,鏡頭就是明刀明槍要監視作為老師的你。但這真的不會影響學生學習嗎?說CCTV 只會拍攝著老師,是對今日教室欠缺認識。今天,還有老師授課只站在課室前端,面對鏡頭,而不會按需要走到課室不同角落幫助或輔導有需要的個別學生?今天,還只是教師獨白,學生坐著聽書?CCTV鏡頭隨著老師走,錄下了老師的教學,也錄下了學生的一言一語、一舉一動。這對學生學習真的是「好事」?




想像你立志要成為一位好老師,甘願付出無盡時間和精神貢獻教育,照顧好每一個學生,而現在有人對著你説:「我就是不信任老師,不管是你或他或他們任何一個!」身處其中的這個你將會有何感受?全程CCTV 監察代表對全體教師的不信任、不尊重,有哪一個專業可以在這氛圍下大有作為、盡情發揮?全程監察後又由誰去裁決教師教學有沒有問題?當每一個人都帶著自己的觀點、經歷去評鑒甚或監察課堂教學,對教育專業有多大打擊?


香港中學校長會執委們一直擔心過度監察,包括安裝CCTV,是否會將政治矛盾直接帶進課室現場,將教育專業淪為外行領導內行,教師會否在明示或暗示的指標下被迫鐵板一塊灌輸式教學?教師從此依書直說,教學從此單向灌輸,師生從此只維持「職業關係」,這是否我們樂見的教育情境?我們是否執意要與國際教育背道而馳,置學生學習效益於不顧,盲目追求一種虛幻的安全感?多年之前實證研究經已證明根本不可行卻只會失敗的「防範老師的課程」(Teacher-proof curriculum),是否要在香港重現?


香港中學校長會執委會與我亦極度關注學童的精神健康問題。根據香港大學醫學團隊去年在國際期刊「刺針」發表的論文,香港每5人就有1人懷疑患上抑鬱或創傷後壓力症。其他不少專家報告也指出,學生和老師的精神壓力越趨惡化。上星期報章大量報道的學童精神健康問題,根據教育局提供的數字,無論是懷疑自殺個案數字,抑或患抑鬱症數字均比年前大幅飆升,而在醫管局接受治療及確診的18 歲以下精神病患者,於2019/20年度,竟達40,350人。而因不同原因未有求診,或是未有使用醫管局服務的年青人數字,更無從估量。無論學童精神健康問題因何越趨嚴重,在全球疫情肆虐、社會意見分化的當下處境,引進課室CCTV無異將超級精神壓力煲引進校園,後果堪虞。

課室CCTV的引進也會為教育改革進程帶來巨大衝擊。自2000年開始,隨著全球教育改革的浪潮,香港教育進入了新里程,鼓勵老師創新教學以促進學生學會學習。曾幾何時,國際教育評核機構,例如經濟合作暨發展組織(OECDPISA研究中心及遍佈全球的McKinsey & Company等,對香港教育變革和教師隊伍專業能力均給予極高評價。假若課室CCTV的引進是專為時刻監控老師日常教學,整個教師隊伍不但尊嚴受貶,團隊士氣在微觀管理(Micro-management)下將被逐漸消磨,教學創新的專業空間亦會不斷萎縮。






香港中學校長會榮譽總幹事 黃謂儒