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PROTECTION OF DATA IN THE EDUCATION SECTOR AND WHY IT IS IMPORTANT IN THE POST PANDEMIC WORLD

INTRODUCTION

The structure of schooling and learning, including teaching and assessment methodologies, has started to alter drastically in the past few months. The Covid-19 pandemic and the precautionary measures adopted have affected all walks of society, including the education sector - by creating one of the largest interruptions to education systems known in history. This has given rise to an unparalleled need for an online mode of education. Many commercial providers of digital learning platforms have rushed to offer their solutions for this crisis. As a result, data protection and privacy issues, previously looked upon as vague, have become extremely important in the present scenario.

THE NEED FOR STUDENT DATA PROTECTION IN ONLINE EDUCATION

The collection of data and its proper interpretation is a critical aspect in the strategic planning efforts of every educational institution, offering both proofs of success and rationale for new initiatives to be undertaken. In the current situation, they are relying on technological innovations and remote connection methods for collecting several datasets. This causes an unavoidable and very real potential for unethical or even unlawful use of personally identifiable information (PII) from the data being collected.

PII may include:

  • The collection, usage, and management of students' PII
  • All information that could be used to identify, find, or connect with a student, including name, address, student ID, demographics, birth date, and login credentials
  • Information that could be merged to identify a specific student

There are legal and ethical limitations on the collection, use, sharing, and handling of student PII. Unlawful sourcing of such data may be used by the third-party vendors for advertising purposes or if in the wrong hands, with criminal intentions like identity theft.

SOLUTION FOR STUDENT DATA PROTECTION

Protecting the student data is important in creating a safe and secure space for the students without having to worry about the unethical sourcing, use or storage of their personal information.

To ensure student data privacy, some initiatives from the Government of India include - The Information Technology Act 2000 (IT Act) and the Information Technology (Reasonable Security Practices and Procedures and Sensitive Personal Data or Information) Rules 2011 (Sensitive Personal Data Rules) which act as the principal legislation governing the collection and processing of personal information and sensitive personal data or information (Sensitive Personal Data) on a sector-neutral basis.

One other possible remedy is to employ the use of powerful tools such as Infosys Enterprise Data Privacy Suite (iEDPS), an easy-to-use, high-performance, scalable, and cost-effective data privacy and protection product that automates the data masking process of an enterprise in a centralized manner. It also helps protect confidential, sensitive, private, and personally identifiable information within enterprise repositories. iEDPS is highly customizable and configurable and can be deployed on any platform and supports all major databases as well as multiple operating systems. Proper usage of such tools can ensure that misuse of PII can be prevented in any manner without the consent of the parties involved, thus providing a viable solution for the ethical and moral dilemma.

 

CONCLUSION

Protection of data in the education sector should include making sure that student data privacy remains a top priority throughout as well as after the current pandemic and guidelines should be effectively and collaboratively established by a diverse and inclusive community of people with broad expertise in data privacy and data security. 

Author : Anjali R

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