Several government policy and legal documents refer to information and communication technologies (ICTs), including the 1996 Education Act (as amended in 2021) and Plan 2022: Bermuda's Strategic Plan for Public School Education, but no definition of the term is provided.
The 2021 Bermuda Public School System Education Reform: Vision for Learning refers to the term ‘distance learning’, with no specific definition.
The term education technology (EdTech) is not mentioned in government documents.
Constitution and laws: There is no ICT Act. The 2011 Electronic Communications Act includes provisions for universal service of public electronic communications (Article 32), which include electricity and internet services.
The 1996 Education Act (as amended in 2021) stipulates that the curriculum of every aided and maintained school shall include the subjects of ‘design and technology’ and ‘information technology’ (Article 23), while the curriculum of a signature learning programme referred to in section 22(2) shall include the learning areas of ‘technology and engineering’, as well as other learning areas intended to build the skills and competencies of students to pursue a career or further educational goals. In addition, the Act states that the Commissioner of Education shall be responsible for information technology and communications (Article 5).
Policies, plans and strategies: There is no national ICT Policy or ICT in Education/EdTech Policy, although there are plans to develop a Comprehensive Technology and Information Literacy Policy.
The 2021 Bermuda Public School System Education Reform: Vision for Learning depicts the restructuring vision for the Bermuda state school system, with specific ICT objectives.
The government of Bermuda committed to transform state education as part of the Plan 2022: Bermuda's Strategic Plan for Public School Education, which was published in 2017. The plan includes several ICT objectives in infrastructure and skills development, which are enhanced in the 2021 Bermuda Public School System Education Reform: Vision for Learning.
The 2018-22 Cybersecurity Strategy similarly includes several objectives to build human capacity in ICT, computer science and cybersecurity.
The 2019 IT Career Guide, which focuses on cybersecurity, aims to provide students with a guide and reference book for seeking a career in ICT.
Digital competency frameworks: There are no national digital competency frameworks for teachers or students.
Changes occurred as a result of COVID-19: The government of Bermuda updated its Plan 2022: Bermuda's Strategic Plan for Public School Education following COVID-19, into the 2021 Bermuda Public School System Education Reform: Vision for Learning, stating that the education system, needs to “change to help young people develop the skills, knowledge, values and relationships to enable them to access – and be the creators of – the jobs of the future, to be active citizens and to tackle increasingly complex challenges”. The Ministry of Education developed a vision for learning to be: personalised, flexible, relevant, future-focused, inspiring and “authentically Bermudian”.
2.2.1. Technology infrastructure and digital capacity of schools
Electricity: The 2011 Electronic Communications Act includes electricity cable systems as part of its universal service policy (Article 32). The government’s objectives also include the renovation or rebuilding of primary schools and existing buildings to house signature schools that are accessible and energy efficient, as part of the 2021 Bermuda Public School System Education Reform: Vision for Learning. The plan explicitly highlights the provision of lighting for staff and students. The Plan 2022: Bermuda's Strategic Plan for Public School Education similarly aims to ensure school buildings have electrical maintenance.
Computers and devices: One of the objectives of the government’s Plan 2022: Bermuda's Strategic Plan for Public School Education is for 75% of schools to have updated information technology infrastructure that is adequate for purpose by 2022. This includes ensuring all schools have access to up to-date hardware and digital curriculum materials supported by a robust infrastructure, developing systemic standards and recommendations for hardware and software purchasing that is equitable across schools, and piloting the innovative use of mobile devices for curriculum instruction. In 2021, tablets were donated to primary schools and classes consisting of 1349 students. There was no information found on One Laptop per Child or Bring Your Own Device policies.
Internet connectivity: The 2011 Electronic Communications Act includes internet services as part of the government’s universal service policy (Article 32). The Plan 2022: Bermuda's Strategic Plan for Public School Education aims to improve the access, distribution, and speed of internet in all schools, while the 2018-22 Cybersecurity Strategy highlights the Wi-Fi-for-schools project which aimed to make fast access available to all public schools within the year 2018.
2.2.2. Technology and learning environments
Bermuda has been offering distance learning through the Bermuda College of Education since 2007. The 2018-23 Bermuda College Strategic Plan aimed to expand distance learning opportunities and other flexible delivery methodologies. The Plan 2022: Bermuda's Strategic Plan for Public School Education and 2021 Bermuda Public School System Education Reform: Vision for Learning also highlight e-learning/distance learning options and online courses.
During COVID-19 school closures, remote learning guidelines were put in place for virtual learning, while essential curriculum documents for primary and middle levels were made available on the Department of Education’s website (Essential Curriculum page). The COVID-19 Plan for Schools includes temporary guidelines for schools.
The Learning First Program which is part of the 2021 Bermuda Public School System Education Reform: Vision for Learning aims to establish “21st century learning” in schools, with an integrated focus on literacy, numeracy, thinking /reasoning, problem solving, communication, social skills, financial literacy and entrepreneurship, ICT, civic responsibility, global awareness and habits of mind for college and career readiness. Purpose-built dual-purpose labs/rooms also aim to be established for ICT and STEAM Education, while the Bermuda Senior School Literacy Test aims to measure whether students meet the minimum standard for literacy across all subjects up to the end of Grade 9. One of the priorities of the Plan 2022: Bermuda's Strategic Plan for Public School Education is to establish a Comprehensive Technology and Information Literacy Policy, by publishing cross-curricula standards for student’s 21st century application skills in the area of technology and information literacy (with a focus on coding classes), enhancing students’ competence and confidence in information technology and literacy, and establishing specialised schools in performing arts, science & technology (STEAM), sports, trades and e-learning. The government aims to prioritise STEAM in instructional strategies and learning opportunities and move towards STEAM accreditation for schools.
The 2008 Essential Curriculum: Curriculum and Instructional Leadership Performance Standards Summary include several expected standards for students which relate to technology, such as Information Retrieval and Technological Communication which expect the student to demonstrate the ability to analyse, synthesize and interpret information presented to them through mass media and process this information to enhance their learning.
Finally, the 2018-22 Cybersecurity Strategy aims to review and reform the education curriculum to include ICT, computer science and cybersecurity.
The Plan 2022: Bermuda's Strategic Plan for Public School Education supports the establishment of teaching standards in technology that align with the government’s vision of vision for effective curriculum, instruction, and assessment supported by technology. The plan additionally aims to support teachers in creating and delivering a digital curriculum, and enhancing teachers’ competence and confidence in information technology and literacy through professional training. The 2021 Bermuda Public School System Education Reform: Vision for Learning include as part of the teacher profile an IT certification and the ability to use specialised assistive technology. Finally, one of the objectives of the 2018-22 Cybersecurity Strategy is to develop the ICT capacity of educators.
2.4.1. Data privacy
The 2016 Personal Information Protection Act outlines the requirements for organizations that use personal information, as well as the rights that individuals have regarding the use of their personal information by organizations. This legislation, which follows international best practice, applies to all organizations, businesses and the government that use personal information in Bermuda, with no explicit reference to schools.
2.4.2. Online abuse and cyberbullying
There is no policy in place that protects students from online abuse or cyberbullying. The 1998 Children Act and 2019 Child Safeguarding (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act aim to protect children from abuse, with no specific mention of online abuse or cyberbullying.
Bermuda is one of the 14 British Overseas Territories. The Department of Education (under the Ministry of Education) is responsible for coordinating the integration of ICT in the education system through the Information Technology Section.
The Department of ICT Policy & Innovation focuses on promoting the key role that technology plays as a powerful driver in helping to achieve many of the economic, social and environmental objectives of the country. It regulates cyber-safety, cybersecurity and the protection of personal information through the provision of relevant and constructive legislation.
According to the Plan 2022: Bermuda's Strategic Plan for Public School Education, the Ministry of Education aims to partner with the private sector and donors to provide meaningful support to schools for instructional resources, technology and other programmes.
There is no blanket ban of mobile devices in schools.