The 1979 Constitution with amendments through 2013, the 2004 Telecommunications Act, the 2013 Education Act and the 2021 Cybercrime Act do not mention the terms "information and communications technology (ICT)" and “educational technology (EdTech)”.
The 2016-2036 Kiribati Development Plan (KV20), the 2019 National ICT Policy, the 2021 Digital Government Master Plan, and the 2021 Electronics Transactions Act mention the term ICT without any specific definition.
The terms ICT, remote learning/education are mentioned in the 2020 Education Sector Contingency Plan for COVID-19 without any specific definition.
The Education Strategic Vision up to the year 2020 mentions the terms ICT, Edtech and distance education/distance learning.
Constitution and laws: The 2013 Communications Act sets up the framework for the regulation of communications services in Kiribati, including universal service provisions. The Universal Access framework is further regulated by the 2015 Universal Access Rules and the 2020-22 Universal Access Plan.
The 2013 Education Act aims to provide high-quality education to every student and promote compulsory education, with no specific reference to technology.
The 2021 Electronics Transactions Act aims to protect computer data and information in the form of electronic communication.
Policies, plans and strategies: With the vision of empowering learners through the inclusive use of ICTs, the 2021-2025 ICT in Education Master Plan aims to support ICT usage in education that upholds culturally grounded and high-quality education.
The overall objective of the 2016-2036 Kiribati Development Plan, also known as KV20, is to bolster national efforts in transforming the lives of an I-Kiribati and economy into a resilient, wealthy, healthy and secure nation. Four pillars, namely, wealth, peace and security, infrastructure and governance, are identified to achieve the objective of the 2016-2036 Kiribati Development Plan (KV20), and the use of ICT is incorporated in each pillar.
Explicitly recognising the Government's manifesto and the 2016-2036 Kiribati Development Plan (KV20), the 2020-2023 National Development Plan, as well as national sector policies, the 2019 National ICT Policy aims to address the introduction of e-Government; the development of ICT services on all islands; national internet security; and managing ICT reform at the national level. There are specific education objectives, with the government aiming to utilise ICT in education through the development of infrastructure, e-learning, and skills.
Digital competency frameworks: The government of Kiribati has not developed a national digital competency framework nor does it adhere to the regional/international digital competency framework. However, the 2021-2025 ICT in Education Master Plan aims to develop a teachers' ICT competency framework.
Changes occurred as a result of COVID-19: The overarching goal of the 2020 Education Sector Contingency Plan for COVID-19 is to support the continuation of quality learning and protection of the health and well-being of school-aged children during and after COVID-19. The 2020 Education Contingency Plan for COVID-19 has four outcome statements regarding preparedness, response, recovery, and system-strengthening and 22 outputs. It includes specific long-term objectives that aim to strengthen the resilience of the education system against future disruptions, with three specific outputs: 1) review of the education sector’s COVID-19 response (Output 4.1); 2) Ministry of Education and school capacity development on emergency preparedness and response (Output 4.2); and Ministry of Education capacity development on coordination (Output 4.3).
Recognising the impact of COVID-19, the 2020-2023 National Development Plan aims to strengthen ICT development and enhance access to communication, technologies, connectivity and quality information and services to all the people of Kiribati. As a result of COVID-19, the government aimed to supplement a Contingency and ICT plan that supplements the National Contingency plan and ICT in Education Master plan.
2.2.1. Technology infrastructure and digital capacity of schools
Electricity: Supplying renewable power for ICT equipment in schools is one of the priority programs of the 2021-2025 ICT in Education Master Plan.
The vision of the 2009 National Energy Policy is “available, accessible, reliable, affordable, clean and sustainable energy options for the enhancement of economic growth and improvement of livelihoods in Kiribati". The policy encourages the provision of sustainable energy access to households, communities, and institutions, with specific objectives towards developing rural electrification. However, there is no specific reference to schools.
Computers and devices: In 2014, the Kiribati National Library installed several "green laptops" for use by children, initially part of an initiative in 2010 to trial ''One Laptop per Child (OLPC)''.
The 2019 National ICT Policy aims to establish suitable computer equipment in every high school, junior secondary, and primary school. Furthermore, according to the 2019 National ICT Policy, to enable access to ICT services for persons with disabilities, the Ministry of Information, Communications and Transport (MICTTD) aims to establish a fund/subsidy to purchase ICT equipment.
On a similar note, supplying digital devices and developing digital repository are included in the primary programs of the 2021-2025 ICT in Education Master Plan.
Internet connectivity: The 2013 Communications Act includes internet services as part of the communications services covered under its universal access plan and fund (Article 66). According to the 2015 Universal Access Rules, the Communications Commission, in the development of a Universal Access Plan, shall consider complementary government programs by the Ministry of Education (e.g. for the current and planned locations and needs of any projects for provincial education such as distance learning) (Article 13). In addition to the services listed in the Communications Act, the Rules aim to increase access to PCs and other digital devices, localized content and services, community ICT centers, internet kiosks, and other community access points. The 2020-22 Universal Access Plan was formulated to bridge the digital divide in an effort to improve the social fabric and enhance economic development. The first objective of the universal access plan is “improving ICT connectivity and coverage to the remote schools and adjacent communities”.
Many plans and policies reflect the need to improve ICT and communication services. Developing and improving ICT and communication services is one of the important strategies of the 2020-2023 Ministry Strategic Plan of the Ministry of Information, Communication, Transport and Tourism Development (MICTTD) and State-Owned Enterprises (SOE). The 2021-24 MICTTD Strategic Plan also specifically aims to improve internet connectivity in schools. To enhance communication and provide better quality internet service at a lower cost to the public, the Government of Kiribati, in partnership with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), is in the process of completing the mobile and submarine cable projects.
The 2019 National ICT Policy aims to provide internet connection in every high school, junior secondary, and primary school. The 2019 National ICT Policy also aims to provide high-speed quality internet services (six to eight Mb/s) to be available in every village across the whole of Kiribati, with priority given (where possible) to areas of significance, at an affordable price. Furthermore, the establishment of community ICT hubs in each village and operator requirements for providing devices and software that will enable persons with disability to access ICT services is being prioritised in the 2019 National ICT Policy.
Within the Infrastructure for Development pillar of the 2016-2036 Kiribati Development Plan (KV20), the Government of Kiribati aims to increase the percentage of internet penetration from 47% in 2019 to 60% in 2023, 85% in 2027 and 100% in 2036. Furthermore, the 2016-2036 Kiribati Development Plan (KV20) also envisages increasing the percentage of broadband users from 45% in 2019 to 60% in 2023, 80% in 2027 and 90% in 2036. However, the 2016-2036 Kiribati Development Plan (KV20) does not explicitly mention improving internet connectivity in schools/education institutions.
Providing internet and mobile connectivity is similarly one of the priority programs of the 2021-2025 ICT in Education Master Plan. From 2022 onwards, the 2021-2025 ICT in Education Master Plan aims to provide internet connectivity to ten schools per year and mobile connectivity to twenty schools per year.
2.2.2. Technology and learning environments
The 2019 National ICT Policy aims to develop e-learning applications for students to support remote learning.
The 2020 Education Sector Contingency Plan for COVID-19 emphasises the development of different remote learning modalities for each school level. These modalities include radio lessons, video recorded lessons, take-home packages developed by individual schools and teachers, and parental handbooks and storybooks.
The e-learning platform of the Ministry of Education (MoE) provides lessons on various topics ranging from STEM subjects to Economics, Accounting, Statistics, and Applied technology to high school students; and English and Maths to primary school students. The e-learning platform also offers lessons to parents to make remote learning interactive.
The 2019 National ICT Policy prioritises teaching ICT skills in primary, junior high and high school curricula. However, it does not mention the type of ICT skills.
Some national development plans specifically mention the type of ICT skills. For instance, the 2016-2036 Kiribati Development Plan (KV20) identifies creativity, work ethic, and entrepreneurial and soft skills for creating a globally competitive and adaptive human resource base that is critical to achieving the overall outcome of the 2016-2036 Kiribati Development Plan (KV20). However, the 2016-2036 Kiribati Development Plan (KV20) does not link the above-mentioned skills to school/higher education. The 2020 Cybersecurity Strategy supports the introduction of cybersecurity education in the national curriculum for all students at the primary school and high school level which should include basic definitions of cybersecurity-related terminologies and allow for the development of students’ knowledge of ICT and cyber security. It additionally aims to develop training materials, background information and sample presentations for teachers.
The 2021 Digital Transformation Plan recognises the importance of ICT knowledge as part of the education system to raise a digitally skilled young generation. To this end, the 2021 Digital Transformation Plan emphasises the need to include ICT education in the school curriculum (primary and secondary level) and provide several opportunities to study ICT at the tertiary education level (including vocational education).
To enhance students' ICT skills development, the 2021-2025 ICT in Education Master Plan aims to develop the new ICT and digital citizenship curriculum. Furthermore, the 2021-2025 ICT in Education Master Plan also prioritises developing vocational skills.
The 2019 National ICT Policy encourages developing teachers ICT skills.
The 2020 Education Contingency Plan for COVID-19 and the 2021 Digital Transformation Plan emphasise the need for training of teachers, education coordinators, and the Government of Kiribati's officials on their roles and responsibilities for remote learning support. Furthermore, the 2020 Education Sector Contingency Plan for COVID-19 also gives importance to the issue of sensitisation around the roles and responsibilities of caregivers and communities concerning children's remote learning and well-being – especially for students of ECCE and primary school-going age.
The 2021-2025 ICT in Education Master Plan aims to provide in-service online continuous professional development to teachers so that they can better use ICT services and improve teaching practices. From 2022 onwards, the 2021-2025 ICT in Education Master Plan aims to train fifty teachers per year in advanced diploma of ICT teaching.
2.4.1. Data privacy
The 2022 Data Protection Policy applies to “all personal data processed by the Government of Kiribati”, which shall be processed "lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner”. There is no specific reference to schools.
The 2021 Cybercrime Act ensures the right of individuals to privacy and confidentiality of their personal data and information. According to the 2013 Communications Act, unauthorised access to computer material, such as data, files, and computer programs, is an offence with a fine not exceeding $2,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both (Article 107). Similarly, according to Section 3 of the 2021 Cybercrime Act, unauthorised access to any computer program or computer data stored in a computer system is illegal and punishable with a fine not exceeding $10,000 or imprisonment not exceeding seven years or both. However, the above-mentioned laws do not explicitly mention educational institutions or explicitly guarantee data privacy from the use of technology in education.
The 2022 Cyber Smart guidelines of the Ministry of Information, Communication, Transport and Tourism Development (MICTTD) inform citizens to upgrade to two-factor authentication, upsize passwords, uphold privacy, and update software and apps to protect data and privacy in the digital environment.
The 2019 National ICT Policy aims to introduce a program of education in schools to teach children how to safely use the internet.
2.4.2. Online abuse and cyberbullying
There are no specific laws in Kiribati regarding cyberbullying. However, some provisions to combat cyberbullying exist in the 2013 Communications Act and the 2021 Cybercrime Act. According to the 2013 Communications Act, sending a message using a communications network or service that is “grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene, or menacing character” is considered an offence, with a penalty of not exceeding $1,000 and imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months (Article 94). There are also penalties in respect to sending false or fraudulent messages using a radiocommunication system or service (Article 96), but the Act does not explicitly mention the kind of messages. Furthermore, according to the 2004 Telecommunications Act, causing “annoyance, inconvenience, or needless anxiety” using a communications network or service is also considered an offence with the exact charges as mentioned in the case of a communications system or service (Article 94).
According to the 2021 Cybercrime Act, producing, offering, procuring, possessing and obtaining sexually abusive material depicting a child are offences punishable upon conviction to imprisonment for a period not exceeding ten years. Furthermore, according to the 2021 Cybercrime Act, communicating by means of a computer system with the intent to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause emotional distress to a person, which can result in endangering a person's life, is also an offence punishable upon conviction, to a fine not exceeding $3,000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years or to both.
However, there is no explicit mention of preventing and responding to online abuse and cyberbullying of students in the above-mentioned legal instruments.
The 2020 Cybersecurity Strategy supports the establishment of a Child Online Protection Working Group which will be tasked to identify areas of child online protection (such as technical protection measures, curriculums for school and information material for parents and guardians) that need to be integrated in Kiribati. Specific guidelines aim to be developed for technical child online protection measures, which include recommendations for measures on how to prevent abuse of the service. A Child Online Protection Helpline was additionally created through the strategy, while schools should receive a questionnaire to enable them to assess the use of ICT service by students as well child-specific cybersecurity risks.
The Ministry of Education is overall responsible for the integration of ICT in education in various areas, such as e-learning and the development of digital resources.
The Communication Commission of Kiribati aims to collaborate with educational institutions to promote technical education in the field of communication. Furthermore, providing communications services at a reasonable rate; regulating the prices levied by communications systems and services operators; approving various instruments; determining technical standards regarding communications, including standards about network matters and customer premises equipment; licences granting are also some of the main tasks of the Communication Commission of Kiribati.
Established to fulfil the purposes of the 2021 Cybercrime Act, the Cybercrime Unit aims to provide technical assistance to various authorities and preserve computer data.
The 2019 National ICT Policy aims to establish a Kiribati Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) to prevent cyber-attacks.
To oversee the implementation of the 2019 National ICT Policy, the ICT committee of the Ministry of Information, Communications and Transport (MICTTD) plays a leadership role in coordinating the projects described in the 2019 National ICT Policy and monitors and regularly reports on the achievement of its goals. The Committee works in close collaboration with other critical Ministries, including the Ministry of Commerce, Industry & Cooperatives (MCIC), Ministry of Education (MoE), Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS), and Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA). The Digital Transformation Office of MICTTD is a department responsible for advising the Government on ICT-related matters, and coordinating the development of national ICT-related Policies and ICT projects throughout Kiribati.
No specific responsibilities of schools with respect to the use of specific devices such as mobile phones or tablets are defined in current laws and policies.