Going Beyond: Cyber security curriculum in Western Australian primary and secondary schools
This project maps the WA school curriculum to ascertain what aspects surrounding cyber security are covered and where they are located (learning area, year level, etc.). The research explores and identifies how we best position young people in WA to be cyber-aware and cybersafe, both now and in the future. Multiple consultation workshops with expert cyber security providers, and educators from various sectors of education, explored how cyber security might best be addressed within the WA curriculum. A systematic literature review of international approaches to K-12 cyber security education has also been undertaken.
This project is funded by the CSCRC, Edith Cowan University and Government of Western Australia acting through the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Office of the Digital Government (DGov).
WHAT’S THE ISSUE?
There is no doubt cyber security is of national interest given the rife nature of cybercrime and the alarming increase of victims enduring identify theft, fraud and scams. Given these facts and the interest and support for this research, it remains evident cyber security K-12 education is of national importance. Curriculum within K-12 schools tends to be fixed, and any modifications are subject to extensive consultation within a prolonged review cycle. Therefore, this report has gone beyond curriculum to explore the potential of national awareness campaigns and dynamic digital cyber security licences and broader cultural approaches as alternate possibilities for instigation. The teaching of cyber security skills and knowledge is highly dependent on the personal confidence and competence of the individual teacher in cyber security. The role of leaders in various school sectors and systems is critical for a successful roll out.
WHAT WERE THE OBJECTIVES?
The first part of the project mapped the current WA school curriculum to ascertain what aspects surrounding cyber security are already covered and where in the curriculum that learning is located. In the second half of this project, the research team:
- Analysed the feedback from the consultation workshops.
- Commenced a systemic literature review of international peer-reviewed literature.
- Incorporated grey and white literature surrounding cyber security initiatives within curriculum and schooling.
- Detailed various international approaches to cyber security in school curriculum.
- Identified the need to extend the scope of this project and extend the project with additional deliverables.
- Produced this report.
WHAT ARE THE MAJOR FINDINGS?
Cyber security is so important, required by every Australian using a digital device. Industry and educators want Australian citizens to stay safe and secure online by developing deeper awareness, skills and understanding of the ways cyber security threats cause harm to individuals, organisations, and the nation. The societal-wide lack of digital literacy coupled with low-level digital security has increased the risk people unknowingly endure when on devices within our workplaces, schools, and homes. It is a rife, worldwide societal endemic.
Just like Australians already value and have come to expect their children to know how to swim, we need to address the broad level of behaviour change required nationally to stay safe and secure online. Hence cyber security and cyber safety (inherent within cyber security) needs to be valued and understood. This requires change at the cultural level.
Aligning with industry experts and education sector feedback, the report offers suggested solutions matching the level of national threat we are experiencing, including: a national public health campaign and resources; a cyber security digital licence; teacher professional learning; and more.
We now seek input into the design and delivery of a dynamic digital cyber security licence via a consultation paper and online/in-person workshops. Please indicate your interest in attending these online workshops via the email address below.
For further details and to receive regular updates, please email email@example.com with your name, position and organisation if applicable.