Keeping close eye on students


The main entrance of Penang Free School at Jalan Masjid Negeri, Penang. — Photos: LIM BENG TATT/The Star

ANY Penang Free School boy thinking of skipping classes will have to think twice; there are eyes watching all the time.

More closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras will be installed along classroom corridors in a move to enhance the school’s level of discipline.

There are already 16 cameras and 20 more will be watching the corridor of Form Two and Three classrooms by end of this month, said the school’s Parent-­Teacher Association (PTA) chairman Johari Mohd Yusoff.

He said the cameras will come in handy to keep tabs on students’ movements, especially those trying to play truant.

“I am personally raising funds to buy the cameras,” said Johari recently.

He said the PTA realised that Form Two and Three students tended to be more mischievous and headstrong.

Johari added that these students are young and he believes that such bad habits should be curbed at an early age.

“We are also looking for a gadget that can detect handphones to help us find students who bring handphones to school without permission.

“However, majority of our students still abide by the school’s rules and regulations,” he said, adding that the PTA was working closely with the school administration to maintain the school’s discipline levels.

Johari, who has been the school’s PTA chairman for the past six years, said the school has also been working with the police to keep students’ disciplinary problems under control.

When asked about the drop in the enrolment of Form One students at the school this year, he said the school’s disciplinary issue could be one of the reasons and might have caused parents to choose other schools.

“This year, only 160 students enrolled for Form One and it is very low compared to previous years.

“We want to work out ways to encourage more enrolment,” he said.

Johari said he wants to bring back the school’s old glory.

Penang Free School, founded in 1816, is the oldest English-language school in the country. English-language schools were considered prestigious in those days.

The school is also the oldest English school in Southeast Asia and celebrated its bicentenary anniversary in 2016.

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