Implementation of students’ online safety standards in all educational institutions supported by piloting results

The piloting of Standards for the online protection and safety of children/students in six educational institutions in Moldova has been completed.

On 1 July, the International Center La Strada organized a round table to present the results of the piloting, where participants discussed the successes and challenges of the piloting process and came up with recommendations to revise the text of the Standards, finalize it and propose it for final approval to the Ministry of Education and Research.

Present at the discussions, Angela PRISĂCARU, senior consultant at the General Education Department, Ministry of Education and Research, said: “These Standards are a fundamental document in the field of online child safety, which comes not to complicate the work of teachers and educational institutions, but on the contrary, to integrate online safety into existing policies and practices. The impact on students’ attitudes to online safety, recorded in the first year of piloting, indicates how necessary are the actions carried out systematically, but also how important it is to have, at system level, this complex approach that integrates online safety in the dimensions of management, curriculum and institutional capacity.”   

Elena BOTEZATU, Executive Director of La Strada: “The experiences of these six educational institutions, their successes and lessons learned will help us in the next stage of improving the text of the Standards and approving them for implementation at national level. By implementing these standards, we want to transform every educational institution into a safe area for students, including online, so that students can fully enjoy the benefits of the internet, without being exposed to any risks for their psycho-emotional well-being.”

According to the action plan for piloting the Standards, approved by Ministry of Education and Research Order no. 872 of 12.07.2021, so far, for a year, several activities have been carried out aimed to contribute to their effective implementation.

For this, six educational institutions from Moldova were selected, both from urban and rural areas and with different institutional capacity, in order to get objective findings about the relevance, efficiency, effectiveness of implementation actions, and to be able to subsequently extend the implementation of Standards at national level.

Educational institutions in which the piloting took place: Ion Creangă Gymnasium in Soltanesti village, Nisporeni district; Ștefan cel Mare și Sfânt Theoretical Lyceum in Taraclia village, Causeni District; Onisifor Ghibu Theoretical Lyceum in Chisinau; Ion Vatamanu Theoretical Lyceum in Straseni; Alexandru cel Bun Theoretical Lyceum in Rezina; and the theoretical lyceum in Dorotcaia village, Dubasari district.

“A common vision was created in the lyceum among all teachers regarding online safety, and they promote and develop children’s thinking and internet surfing skills,” said one of the lyceum managers present at the round table.

In order to ensure an impartial assessment of the piloting results, the Center of Investigations and Consultation SOCIOPOLIS conducted a pre-post piloting assessment, between august 2021 and April 2022, in order to reveal the results determined by the implementation of Standards in selected educational institutions.

The study found that the number of gymnasium-age students who discuss with someone the problems they encounter online increased from 55.6% to 60.9%.

The final research has shown a growth in the degree of trust in parents (+3.9 p.p.), real-life friends (+8.7 p.p.), teachers (+6.9 p.p.), school psychologist (+5.7 p.p.) to discuss problems they encounter online.

In the context, parents’ discussions with students are focused on not talking to strangers (+23.0 p.p.), browsing only sites they know (+17.4 p. p.), not giving out personal data (+14.5 p. p.), not posting things without parents’ permission (+9.7%), etc.

Respectively, the authors of the study recommend implementing Standards for the online protection and safety of children/students in all educational institutions in the country.

Hot Lines