Teachers get failing grade in cybersecurity education

While 81% of school administrators believe that their schools are doing a good job of teaching students about cybersafety and cybersecurity, more than one-third of teachers receive no training on the issues and 86% receive less than six hours of training, according to the survey of 1,012 teachers, 200 IT coordinators, and 402 school administrators conducted by Zogby/463.

Only 55% of teachers strongly agree that cybersecurity, cybersafety, and cyberethics should be taught in schools as part of the curriculum, while more than 82% of administrators and 85% of IT specialists share those same feelings.

“Teachers are not getting adequate training in online safety topics, and schools have yet to adopt a comprehensive approach to online safety, security and ethics as part of a primary education. In the 21st Century, these topics are as important as reading, writing and math", said Michael Kaiser, NCSA executive director.

The study found that 97% of administrators agree schools should have curriculum that prepares young people to enter the workforce as cybercapable employees – meaning they are able to use basic technology in a safer and secure way. Overall, 68% of administrators believe their schools or school districts are doing an adequate job of preparing students to pursue college-level education in cybersecurity.

Yet, few primary and secondary educators are teaching topics that would prepare students to be cybercapable employees or cybersecurity-aware college students. In the past 12 months, only 20% taught students about knowing when it is safe to download files; 23% taught about using strong passwords; 7% taught about the role of the internet in the US economy; and only 4% taught about careers in cybersecurity.

Nearly 80% of teachers and 60% of administrators identified parents as primarily responsible for teaching children to use computers safely and securely. However, more than half of IT coordinators said teachers bear the primary responsibility. Across all groups surveyed, less than 1% indicated government or law enforcement shouldered the main responsibility.

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