A committee of experts believes that the privacy of students is not protected in schools today. – Students need to know what data is being collected about them, says Petter Andreas Lona from the student association.
On Tuesday this week, Minister of Education Tonje Brenna (Ap) received a public report on the analysis of digital learning. One of the panel’s main concerns is that there are insufficient provisions in current schools to protect students’ privacy.
The head of the expert committee and Minister of Knowledge Tonje Brenna said it was urgent to do something about this.
“Insufficient privacy protection can threaten public trust in schools,” the commission wrote in its report.
– Today in Norwegian schools it is not easy for students to see what data is collected about them when they use digital educational materials. Students should have this opportunity, says Petter Andreas Lona, new leader of the student organization.
He says many students end up lacking trust in school because there have been repeated episodes where things have gone wrong. Computer attacks and security breaches in school systems have repeatedly resulted in the loss of personal student data. Lona also references previous examples where schools have been able to monitor students’ use of digital school tools while they are at home.
The Norwegian Data Protection Authority has repeatedly expressed concerns regarding the processing of students’ personal data. The abundance of digital tools and educational materials also increases the risk that student data will be collected and lost.
– There have been cases where the use of digital educational materials has had unfortunate consequences on the privacy of students, says Lona.
He points out that a large part of the problems are due to the fact that each municipality itself is responsible for verifying that all the digital tools and systems it uses comply with the regulations.
– How should a small municipality with a few employees be able to conduct a proper privacy assessment of each school educational material. It’s not realistic, says Lona.
– Authorities must take more responsibility
When Education Minister Tonje Brenna (Ap) received the expert committee’s report this week, she made it clear that something had to be done from above to help school owners.
– We have failed to provide teachers with an infrastructure that essentially allows them to do their job. Instead, they have to spend a lot of time and effort checking everything from privacy to discovering what are good and bad digital learning resources in a blurry landscape. As an authority, we need to take more responsibility in this area, so that it becomes easier to be the teacher who will make educational decisions in their classroom, Brenna said.
Petter Andreas Lona, from the student organization, emphasizes that this needs to be cleaned up and he is optimistic about a national system that can control to a greater extent which digital teaching tools can be used. He believes that things are now moving in the right direction, but that it is not going fast enough.
– Students cannot continue to be guinea pigs for many new technologies without their privacy being properly guaranteed, says Lona.
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