Cyber Culture Steps into Bulgarian Schools

Cyber Culture Steps into Bulgarian Schools

By September 2018 all Bulgarian schools will have access to the Secure Electronic Delivery System (eDelivery), which is maintained by the State e-Government Agency

The efforts to raise the digital awareness of citizens must be continually kept up and this is a challenge for all institutions. The words came from Atanas Temelkov, Chairman of the State e-Government Agency (SeGA), during the presentation of the first cyber hygiene lesson intended for the pupils, teachers and parents of children from grade I to grade VII in Bulgarian schools.

At an event marking the end of the school year, the Chairman of the SeGA and the Ministry of Education and Science (MoES), aided by the European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel, presented a lesson under the motto ‘With Big Technology Comes a Big Responsibility’ in front of teachers from various metropolitan schools. The content of the lesson has been approved by the MoES and may be electively included in the curriculum during the 2018/2019 school year. It includes a Guide and methodology intended for teaching staff and tips for parents aiming to help raise the cyber culture of adolescents, as well as practical cyber hygiene tests for the pupils. The teaching content is part of the materials developed by the SeGA within the framework of the national cyber hygiene campaign under the motto They Won’t Hack Me conducted during the Bulgarian presidency of the EU under the auspices of Commissioner Mariya Gabriel.

Through the initiative we focus the citizens’ attention on the risks associated with the Internet and its use and create a possibility for teacher training. Over a period of 6 months more than 8000 schoolchildren were taught basic cyber hygiene skills. Dozens of meetings with teachers and parents across Bulgaria were organised. The campaign attracted thousands of young followers on social media and among public institutions, NGOs and Bulgarian businesses, the Head of the Bulgarian Electronic Governance Agency Atanas Temelkov announced.

By September 2018, Bulgarian schools will have access to the Electronic Delivery System (E-Delivery) maintained by the SeGA, which will enable them to receive the entire school curriculum via secure e-mail, Mr. Temelkov explained. The system is a digital equivalent of the traditional registered main and enables fully digital interaction with institutions. We will thus significantly increase the use of e-services provided by the government, teaching young people how their data is used and protected, Mr. Atanas Temelkov commented.

‘In the past six months we demonstrated that when we work together for a cause, we can always draw attention to the importance of young people’s skills in the world of Internet. Only together, can we ensure that digital transformation is positive for young people and their teachers, and that it meaningfully shapes their digital future’, the European Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Digital Society Mariya Gabriel, patron of the ‘They Won’t Hack Me’ initiative said.

Commissioner Gabriel highlighted the importance of media literacy skills and sound knowledge of the threats in digital space. ‘There are cases of Bulgarian schoolchildren who have left school on account of hateful speech and other vulnerabilities that violated privacy’, Mariya Gabriel recalled, urging teachers to take an active stance in teaching young people cyber hygiene skills.

Commissioner Gabriel singled out the ‘They Won’t Hack Me’ campaign as a good practice example within the broader framework of the common European Safer Internet for the EU campaign ((#SaferInternet4EU) under her auspices. Mariya Gabriel further focused attention on yet another initiative — the Alliance for the protection of minors on the Internet, which has more than 25 members, including UNICEF and large social media, working together to overcome key digital challenged before young people in Europe.

‘The They Wont Hack Me initiative shows that we in Bulgaria want to usher in a digital transformation that will see man in the centre of and managing processed because we have values and principles’, Commissioner Gabriel stated.

A project for the digitalization of Bulgarian school education with a budget of approximately EUR 50 mln. was announced by Denitsa Sacheva, Deputy Minister for Education and Science. According to her statement, the introduction of digital technologies and digital skills are areas in which progress should be pursued with caution and responsibility.

The Interactive cyber lesson developed jointly by the SeGA and the MoES is an important first step and a valuable teaching aid for the school professions who will commence teaching Computer Modelling to third graders from the beginning of the next school year, Denitsa Sacheva pointed out. ‘There are many people outside the system of school education who equally need education and training on the use of technology in order to protect themselves and their personal data. This will ensure that the lesson will be a valuable aid for parents as well as their children. They will be able to learn useful tips about how to better protect their digital identity and the personal data stored on their digital devices’, Deputy Minister Sacheva concluded.

Together with the Ministry of Education and Science, the BEGA will take up the initiative of raising digital culture and promoting the advantages of e-governance in Bulgaria among students graduating in Grades XI and XII in Bulgarian schools.

The entire curriculum and the educational videos of the ‘They Won’t Hack Me’ campaign are available in the Library on the webpage of the campaign at https://cyberneat.e-gov.bg/

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