At the global level, one in three Internet users today is under 18. Information and communication technologies ensure countless possibilities for young people to communicate, be creative, acquire new knowledge and skills, participate in society. On the same lines, online technologies can also bring about novel risks pertaining to issues of privacy, illegal content, cyberbullying, misuse of personal data, etc. It is, therefore, critically important for the next generation to be confident about using emerging technologies and only benefit from their further advancement.
The problem of ensuring cyber security has become particularly exigent amidst the ubiquitous school closures, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and adoption of distance learning by education systems worldwide.
Within the joint initiative towards creating and sustaining safe and empowering online experience for education and communication of children and youth, UNESCO IITE and ITU Regional Office for CIS combined their efforts, aimed at training viable skills on digital literacy and safe ICT utilization for learning or other purposes, at ensuring overall awareness оf cyber risks along with creating and developing the shared culture of cyber hygiene and digital ecology among the entire school community.
Achieving the common objectives the partner organizations recognize, specifically, in the mandatory inclusion of digital citizenship education in the approved school curricula, elaboration of media literacy resources and dedicated programmes for educators, ensuring that all school staff are adequately trained, and their training is duly updated on appropriate and relevant training programmes.
To realize the joint aspiration towards developing competencies of educators in information security and teaching underage learners the principles of responsible technology use and online behavior, the project initiators developed the new six-module online teacher training programme on Information Security in Educational Cyberspace.
From 14 to 25 February 2022, the learning platform of the Russian institution of continuing professional education (contractor) featured the successful golden run of the online course “Information Security in Educational Cyberspace”. As many as 620 educators from four regions of the Russian Federation showed themselves willing to participate in the pilot testing of the new training course.
The learning content delivery engaged compelling videos, pertinent resources and websites, vivid theme-specific images. The course lectures were substantially supported by multimedia presentations.
The training syllabus contemplated various forms of interim assessment, including:
- responding to topical issues within lectures, practical exercises,
- participating in the course fora;
- executing theme-specific practice-oriented tasks.
The advanced training course concluded with a summative assessment represented by online testing.
The trainees, who had successfully completed the programme curriculum, were granted certificates authorized by the project partners.
UNESCO IITE and ITU continue their dedicated sensitization activities towards further popularization and promotion of the new teacher training course.
In the follow-up of the pilot testing procedure, the project initiators received an official address from the contractor concerning the possibility of incorporating the training course on Information Security in Educational Cyberspace into the regular licensed programmes of Continuing Professional Education.
The course piloting has significantly added to the partners’ confidence about the anticipated high appreciation of the opportunity for self-enhancement in the specified problematics from educators in Russia and far beyond!
 ITU. 2020. Guidelines for Parents and Educators on Child Online Protection.