The education sector all around the globe is shifting towards digitized learning and the Covid-19 outbreak has only accelerated the same. It is making a huge impact on the education system—from personalized learning experiences that help in improving engagement to reduced costs and frequently updated content for the learners. The adoption of technologies like the cloud has enabled file-sharing applications in addition to collaboration tools to aid learning. All the academic institutions are continuously collecting increasing amounts of data from the learners in order to enhance the learning experience and better serve their students. But is your data actually safe with these institutions? New data protection laws are bolstering the privacy rights of individuals in this modern data-driven landscape. This is why schools, colleges, universities, and e-learning providers—irrespective of their size and location— are now bound to comply with much stricter data privacy requirements. We are going to put light on some of the implications of data protection legislation on the education sector along with digital ethics and your privacy. It will help you become an informed individual and have more clarity about your rights in the education sector. But first, we need to understand what exactly compliance is.
What Is Data Privacy Compliance?
A majority finds it quite challenging to understand what compliance actually means, and they often confine the process with closely related concepts, such as data privacy, data protection, and cybersecurity. Take a look here!
The concept of data privacy talks about your legal obligation to protect the privacy of individuals by means of proper handling of personal data. In short, the prescribed ways in which you should be collecting, storing, sharing, and allowing access to personal data in accordance with the law.
You need some safeguards, such as encryption and firewalls, to protect one’s personal data so that no unauthorized entity can access your computer systems and data.
All the technical measures that must be taken in order to protect data from compromise, corruption, or loss. In addition to cybersecurity, it also includes backup and business continuity strategies.
One must ensure conformance with data privacy laws by meeting specified requirements, be it related to technology or organizational procedures and practices.
Digital Ethics Necessary for Education Sector
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), allows schools, colleges, and universities to collect and process personal information stated that they are performing a task in the public interest. However, they have to seek explicit consent for using personal data for any purpose that doesn't fall under their normal duties as a learning provider. It must come from the parents in case of minors. Transparent data collection is a must in terms of compliance for all education providers. But e-learning vendors have to pay more attention to signup forms, online checkouts, and how they frame their privacy policies. Privacy notices should be easily accessible to everyone, clearly presented, and must be written in language that could be understood by students of different ages and literacy levels. They must talk about what you do with student data, outlining:
who you are
what information you collect;
why you collect it;
And the data subject's rights.
To meet the requirements of any data protection law, institutions will have to implement appropriate technical and organizational practices so that they can properly safeguard the privacy of individuals. Students can inadvertently spread malware (especially in an educational environment) via email, flash drives, and social media. Not only this, busy teachers and lecturers having a mountain of emails and term-time work pressures, can easily be targeted by such harmful attachments and links to malicious websites. This is why security awareness training must be provided to the staff. Also, you need to ensure the following:
All software and workstations are up to date having the latest software updates and patches. Do this frequently.
There is a strong password policy and limiting access privilege to the bare minimum users required to do their work.
Only the authorized entities have access to classroom hardware. Supervise the same.
Staying in Line with Data Privacy Principles
With so many requirements to take care of, it becomes difficult to define protective data privacy principles to control where that data is collected, managed, and protected. Though it is crucial for every sector including education. This is the part where privacy laws come into the picture and make it possible for citizens to have their personal data deleted. The education sector needs a careful level of control. The same can be achieved by using tools that can give you a complete overview of all your data. It will help you accurately provide all information you store related to an individual and generate responses to the requests you receive, quickly and efficiently.
No doubt that technological advancements are helping us shape a bright future by facilitating all the major industries to transform their identity and serve the people better. But it all comes with a great threat to the data and privacy of the users. This threat intensifies in the education sector since it has huge amounts of user data that must be protected. Knowing all these digital ethics and your privacy rights will help you become an informed user that will allow you to make smarter decisions.