Student Data Privacy and Security in Schools and Colleges

Importance of Student Data Privacy & Security

  • Ayushi Singh
    Ayushi Singh

We live in a digital world, and most of our tasks are dependent on the internet. From banking to paying bills, every activity includes some aspect of technology. Technology has changed the face of education. In recent years schools have shifted to hybrid learning, and classes are held beyond physical spaces. This has given rise to a new horizon where teachers and learners can interact from anywhere, anytime. However, using technology efficiently is the need of the hour. If not used wisely, it can lead to a data breach. As internet penetration in school campuses has gained depth, school admins and teachers must ensure student data privacy and security.

Why is privacy important for a student?

Student data privacy has never been a matter of discussion in parent-teacher meetings or school discussion forums. However, ensuring their privacy is crucial for the management committee of every school. Today, parents and students are framing their own policies to ensure the information remains intact. Moreover, they are encouraging school communities to take this matter seriously.

As the dependency of students on electronic devices and internet connections has increased, there is an enhanced security risk. The educational system must have specific rules and regulations to maintain student data privacy. In such scenarios, the learning management system and enterprise resource planning software for schools come into the picture. These systems use cloud-based technology to store student information, and only authorized individuals have access to such crucial information. As the learning materials and other resources are shared on a secure platform, students do not have to look for third-party information. It is important to choose a trustworthy integrated school platform to ensure data security. ย 

Principles for the protection of student information

Various national and international organizations are working rapidly to ensure data privacy and safety in schools and other educational institutions. These groups work on the five core principles mentioned below.

Transparency

According to this principle, every parent must be informed about how their childโ€™s data is used in the organization. In case of data breaches, they must be informed immediately. Moreover, data disclosure of each student must be labeled.

No commercial uses

School admins and heads of departments of different colleges must ensure that studentsโ€™ data is not used for commercial or marketing purposes.

Security protection

The data must be stored in encrypted forms so nobody can decipher its meaning. Students' data and passwords must be included in the data protection protocols.

Parental rights

Parents should have the right to conduct data audits. They can see what information schools have collected and how they are using the collected data. Moreover, they must have the right to opt-out of further data collection processes.

Enforcement

There must be laws and fines for schools that fail to protect the privacy of their students.

What can students do to ensure their data is used and stored responsibly?

To begin with, students should understand the potential threats related to data breaches. They must understand the benefits of network security and why they should only use trusted sources when learning online. Moreover, they should understand the importance of protecting their IP addresses. Teachers can help students understand the basics of protecting their rights in the cyber world. One of the ways to hide the IP addresses is by using a virtual private network (VPN).

How can the education industry use ERP solutions to ensure data privacy?

Most educational institutions follow the traditional method of maintaining a register to store student information. However, the conventional systems of data management do not ensure data privacy, and as a result, the information may be passed on to third parties. To maintain 100% data privacy and security, student management systems come into play. This can help the institution in the following ways.

  • Effortless collection of important information about students
  • Collection of data relating to fees and admission
  • Detailed information about student attendance data
  • Hostel and inventory management
  • Details of academic records of students
  • Exam planning and scheduling
  • Precise planning of the entire academic session
  • Evaluation of overall student performance

School ERP solutions can streamline the processes for academic institutions. Therefore, it saves a lot of time and enhances collaboration and engagement between faculties and students which is required to create an ideal learning environment. These systems also ensure that the data remains safe and can only be accessed by authorized personnel. The LMS and ERP solutions save student data on a centralized cloud-based platform. As the data is encrypted and unavailable in the pen-paper format, the chances of a data breach stand extremely low. However, to ensure that the stored information is not misused, admins must take care of the system and give access to limited people.

When choosing an ERP system, admins must focus on the features offered by such software. Some of the features that they must look at are:

  • Integration

When managing tasks in an academic institution, the role of data cannot be ignored. Data silos lead to inefficiencies and hinder the work of different departments. An ERP system helps institutes pass information across departments in real-time.

  • Automation

The ERP system automates repetitive tasks like taking attendance, collecting fees, scheduling exams, and managing hostels and inventories. Moreover, the system also takes care of a fleet of buses and other vehicles in an institution. Automation reduces data errors and adds value to the task.

  • Data analysis

When the ERP system captures and presents data in an interactive form, the analysis becomes easier. Schools and other institutions must invest in a system that represents data in an easy-to-understand format. Proper data analysis will help teachers and admins get insight into various metrics related to school management.

  • Reporting

The ERP system must have the ability to prepare different reports based on various metrics. These reports empower stakeholders and help them make more informed decisions. Moreover, it helps them analyze the gray areas that might pose problems in the future.

  • Tracking and visibility

ERP platforms help institutes track, surface, and understand different metrics related to student and teacher performance. Moreover, it also improves communication among stakeholders within and outside the organization.

An ERP platform is vital for educational institutes as it offers real-time information, manages ongoing tasks, and enhances the overall efficiency of the organization. Investing in this system has become mandatory as it suits the needs of institutes of every size.

Suggested Read: How LMS and ERP can Solve Teachers' Problems