iCCS researchers lead new project to understand cyber security skills development in pre-university education

Online learning

Three members of the Institute of Cyber Security for Society (iCSS) at the University of Kent, Dr Virginia Franqueira and Professor Shujun Li from the School of Computing, and Dr Vince Miller from the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research (SSPSSR), have been awarded funding for a new project that aims to understand how cyber security skills development is currently covered in pre-university curricula in different countries and regions.

It will also investigate technical and non-technical approaches used to develop cyber security skills for different age groups up to 18, and the role of different stakeholders, such as teachers, parents, public bodies and NGOs, in skills development activities. It forms a natural part of the wider cyber security research and educational activities of iCSS.

The project is supported by the Global Forum on Cyber Expertise (GFCE), a multi-stakeholder community with the mission to strengthen cyber capacity and expertise globally through international collaboration. As part of their Global CCB Research Agenda 2021, the topic of the project was identified and put forward by their working group on “Cybersecurity Skills & Education”.

Dr Virginia Franqueira said, ‘Young people are more and more connected, owning smartphones from an early age, and increasingly engaging with smart devices, online services and social media platforms.  Despite the benefits derived from such accessibility to resources and friends in the cyberspace, a side effect is their increasing susceptibility to harmful content and the intrinsic difficulty to stay safe online. Therefore, it becomes paramount that young people start developing cyber security skills to raise their awareness of online risks, to build their capacity in countering those risks from young age, and to attract more young talents to pursue a cyber security career. Education at schools and pre-university colleges plays a key role, and we are very excited to have a great opportunity to enhance our understanding, through this project, about the state of development of cyber security education in the UK and worldwide’.