NPC issues ‘dos and don’ts’ for e-learning in K-12 classes

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With public K-12 classes set to open on Oct. 5, the National Privacy Commission (NPC) has released the guidelines on online learning that list the “dos and don’ts” aimed at safeguarding sensitive personal information of pupils.

The guidelines cover areas such as online decorum, learning management systems, online productivity platforms, social media, storage of personal data, webcams and recording videos of discussions, and proctoring.

The guidelines were issued by the NPC, taking inputs from the Data Privacy (DP) Council from the education sector. The Council, composed of data protection officers from public and private schools in Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao, came up with the guidelines on the heels of the surge of breaches of school databases and portals in the first half of the year.

The threats to data privacy remain a clear and present danger, as many activities like learning have shifted to the digital realm because of the pandemic.

In Advisory No. 2020-1, the Data Privacy Council said the “document aims to guide schools and other educational institutions, as well as other stakeholders in the education sector, in their efforts to ensure data protection in the conduct of online learning and other related activities.”

Online learning is one of the modes of blended education that the Department of Education has adopted, as the holding of in-person classes has been set aside to help curb the spread of Covid-19.

The other modes are a combination of methodologies, such as offline tools, printed modules and the use of television and radio.

Students who have access to the Internet and digital devices such as laptops or smart phones are among the 22.3 million who have enrolled in K-12 public schools for this school year.

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