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Recommendation on Integration of Digital Citizenship Education into General Education System

The Public Defender of Georgia has addressed the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of Georgia with a recommendation to integrate the digital citizenship education into the general education system.

Under the COVID 19 pandemic, restrictions relating to social distancing have significantly increased the risks coming from the Internet space and the general vulnerability of children against these risks. The Public Defender emphasizes the importance of preventing threats, such as cyberbullying, hate speech, sexist language, child pornography, etc. Thus, the education of children, parents and teachers about digital citizenship is gaining new and growing importance.

According to the Council of Europe, the digital citizenship education is based on and combines the competencies for democratic culture developed by the Council of Europe, which is considered to be one of the dimensions of the child's right to education. According to the approach of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, it is important that each article of the Convention on the Rights of the Child be interpreted in accordance with the specifics of the digital age and the current reality.

The Public Defender of Georgia considers that each sub-paragraph of paragraph 1 of article 29 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which defines the purpose of education, will fully "move" to the online space as well, as the platform where the educational process is ongoing is being changed.

According to the Public Defender, the Teleschool project provides a new opportunity as a platform for sharing education on digital citizenship, the effective use of which is critically necessary in the context of remote learning.

In view of the above, the Public Defender recommends the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of Georgia to ensure:

  • Teaching of information and communication technologies at all levels of general education through compulsory subjects in such a way as to fully integrate the digital citizenship education in accordance with the standard established by the Council of Europe and the Committee on the Rights of the Child.
  • Development/organization of training programmes on digital citizenship education for students’ parents and legal representatives, as well as their introduction into the Teleschool platform.
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