Minister kept quiet about report on primary school privacy

Protection concept: computer keyboard with Closed PadlockJunior education minister Sander Dekker was aware that primary schools have been handing private information about pupils and parents to companies which develop digital teaching systems, RTL news said on Wednesday.

Despite knowing about this breach of privacy legislation, the minister took no action and allowed the situation to continue, RTL said.

RTL said on Tuesday that information about one million primary school pupils was handed over to a foundation run by four education publishers – Malmberg, Zwijsen, ThiemeMeulenhoff en Noordhoff.

The information was linked to a system of pupil performance monitoring used by the publishers in the development of digital teaching materials.

Privacy professor Gerrit-Jan Zwenne told the broadcaster the publishers were dealing with very sensitive information. ‘You can learn a lot about a child from what happens during tests and exercises,’ he said. ‘At the very least, parents should have been informed.’

One primary school IT chief told RTL schools were told by the publishers that if they did not comply, they would not get the teaching materials.

Dekker commissioned accountancy group PwC to look into the issue and was given a highly critical report in April. Since then, RTL said, he has done nothing. Nor was parliament informed.

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