In the UAE, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), United Arab Emirates Computer Emergency Response Team (aeCERT) and the Ministry of Education (MoE), is running a program to boost cyber security awareness among students at all stages of education. The initiative trained nearly 500 teachers of grades 1 to 12 from every emirate on IT security practice and includes online activities, fun games, guides, presentations, lectures and case studies.
The curriculum content covers many different aspects of cyber security including cyber threats, ethics of computer use, information security, password protection, phishing security protocols, secure browser use, and correct use of content sharing on social media, avoiding copyright infringement.
Mohamed Ahmad Al-Qamzi, TRA chairman said “Cyber security is a critical element to ensure the sustainable development of our nation’s knowledge economy. Such security relies on the knowledge and vigilance of the public at large, and educating our youth is one critical element in building this robust knowledge base”
The UAE has high hopes that “from students, this knowledge passes to families and friends, enabling us to reach every home in the UAE.”
Cyber security, online safety, and caution online are surely important, especially for young children. It could have exponential implications on the Arab World for upcoming generations to be educated on IT and the cyber world as young as 1st grade. This program, or at least the idea behind it, may inspire other parts of the world to follow in its footsteps. Even in the United States, things like cyber-bullying and online safety are important lessons that need to be taught to children at a young age. Elementary aged children have Facebooks – and even before that most have some sort of presence online even if just through a photo posted of them, etc… How young is too young to be on social media? Should public schools be teaching computer safety? IT? Security? This program is like all social media in the Arab world in that it will continue to motivate not just the people of the region, but people all over the world – raise questions, and spark debate.