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Saturday, July 20, 2024

Canada’s New Cybersecurity Education Program Aims to Address the Skills Gap

Cisco Canada and STEM Fellowship have launched Canada’s widest-reaching cybersecurity education program for high school students – the Cybersecurity Classroom Training Program (CCTP). The CCTP addresses the growing need for cybersecurity awareness and education, and provides early exposure to the various tools, technologies, and career paths available in IT and digital industries.

Funded by a $12 million in-kind investment from Cisco, the program aims to engage upwards of 40,000 students and 2,000 teachers across Canada by 2023 and inspire the next generation of IT leaders.

“We have a tremendous opportunity to better prepare young Canadians for a digital future in which they can participate safely and productively,” said Shannon Leininger, President of Cisco Canada. “Canada is facing a digital skills gap, and it’s critical that we find creative ways to spark students’ interest in cybersecurity with programs that appeal to them using real-world examples. The CCTP equips students with the building blocks for a future in IT and helps fuel Canada’s digital talent pipeline.”

The CCTP features seven modules that were adapted from Cisco’s Networking Academy that seamlessly weave the latest cybersecurity content into core subjects like math, business, English and social studies. Teachers can access resources, animated videos and activities that provide engaging and relevant content to students. Some of these include:

  • Digital Business: Recognizing the characteristics and operation of an attack on digital business; learning the techniques to protect organizations from a cyber attack.
  • Digital Art and Culture: A deeper look at digital performance and eTicketing fraud; an analysis of pirating and torrents.
  • Digital Health: Evaluating health and fitness information online to distinguish between evidence- and data-driven information versus forgery.

As Canada’s digital economy continues to grow, the need for adequate digital literacy and skills to navigate the digital world has never been greater, but too few receive this training. For instance, only one third of Canadian students reported being taught to detect social engineering attacks, such as phishing or spam, which is now an everyday risk of engaging online. Moreover, many curriculums across Canada haven’t been updated in over a decade, lacking necessary context for navigating today’s digital society.

“An understanding of cybersecurity and digital threats has never been more pressing, yet topics of cybersecurity and active digital citizenship are missing from high school curriculums. The Cybersecurity Classroom Training Program gives students a solid foundation in cybersecurity,” said Dr. Sacha Noukhovitch, President of STEM Fellowship and recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence in STEM. “Technology is continually evolving, and teachers need access to current and relevant content that can be integrated into lesson plans and lean into their students’ interest.”

Teachers across Canada will have free access to the program online, which includes modules, labs, quizzes and more to facilitate discussions that integrate into their curriculum. Teachers interested in the program can email [email protected] to receive the resources they need to get started.  

Read the announcement at Cisco

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