Computers & Internet in Schools
Acceptable Use Policy
Published by the
Department of Technology in Education
Floriana - Malta
Note to Parents
We are proud to remind that the Education Division, through the Department of Technology in Education invested heavily to provide schools with Information Technology eduipment and services. These include computers in each primary school classroom and computer laboratories in secondary schools. Each school has been provided with Internet connectivity. Your son or daughter will also be provided with their personal e-mail address.
This booklet contains clear guidelines as to how these resources should be used by students in schools. The aim is to enable students to make their use of the Internet and computers, which are so valuable in the world of today and tomorrow, a positive and rewarding experience.
Attached to this booklet is a form through which you can grant your son or daughter permission to make use of these services. We urge you to read the booklet, fill in the form and send it to the head of school.
Dr. Cecilia Borg
Director General of Education
Acceptable Use Policy
The Education Division has made content-filtered Internet access
available to students, and staff, providing users with access to
thousands of worldwide computer networks which contain a vast array of educational resources. These will strengthen the communicative and research skills of students and significantly expand their knowledge base and enable teachers to use the Internet during lessons.
This policy is presented in the form of a set of rules that students need to observe when making use of computers at school. Parents are asked to read this document, and if they agree, fill in and sign the accompanying form and return to the head of school.
What is acceptable use?
To ensure the best possible use of this resource, access to the Internet at school must be in support of education and research and within the educational goals and objectives of the Education Division. Use of Internet will take place under the supervision of the teacher and students are personally responsible at all times when using the electronic information service. Transmission of any material in violation of the Maltese law, or school policy is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, copyrighted material, threatening or obscene material, or materials protected by trade secret. Commercial activities by for-profit institutions are not acceptable. Use of product advertisement or political lobbying is prohibited. Any action which interferes with the intended use of the system, violates another person's right to privacy, including the following: reposting personal communications without an author's consent, giving out names, addresses, phone numbers or passwords of others or trespassing in another person's account is also prohibited. Attempting to gain unauthorized access to the system or network resources, downloading, storing or printing files or messages that are profane, obscene or contain inappropriate language, transmitting or causing to be transmitted, any communication that could be construed as harassment or disparagement of others is also inappropriate. Using the network for financial or commercial gain, wasting resources by failing to monitor personal files, illegally installing copyrighted software on school computers, subscribing to list servers and/or newsgroups without prior approval of a school official, or accessing the Internet Relay Chat area are also forbidden.
The use of the information systems is a privilege, not a right, and inappropriate use will result in cancellation of those privileges. The school administrators will deem what is inappropriate use and their decision is final. The Education Division and/or school administrators may disallow the use of information systems at any time as required.
Use of SchoolNet e-mail must be in support of education and research. Electronic mail is not guaranteed to be private. System administrators reserve the right to access e-mail to investigate complaints. Under these circumstances, messages which are found to be in violation of acceptable use will be reported to appropriate personnel. All messages sent are traceable to the user and logs of transactions are maintained and can be used to monitor use.
Student Web Pages
The Education Division provides web space to students and staff. Publication of any material in violation of the Maltese law, or school policy is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, copyrighted material, threatening or obscene material, or materials protected by trade secret. Commercial activities by for-profit institutions are not acceptable. The Education Division will constantly monitor the content on web pages it hosts and reserves the right to withdraw web space and take disciplinary action against users in breach of its acceptable use policy.
Security on any computer is a high priority, especially when the system involves many users. If you feel you can identify a security problem on the Internet, you must notify a school administrator. Do not demonstrate the problem to other users. Attempts to logon to the network as a system administrator will result in cancellation of user privileges. Any user identified as a security risk or having a history of problems with other computer systems may be denied access to information systems.
Vandalism will result in cancellation of privileges. Vandalism is defined as any malicious attempt to harm or destroy data or equipment of another user, or of any of the agencies providing Internet access. This includes but is not limited to the uploading or creation of computer viruses and hacking.
All users are expected to adhere to the generally accepted rules of network etiquette. These include but are not limited to the following: Be polite. Do not get abusive in your messages to others. Use appropriate language. Illegal activities are strictly forbidden. Do not reveal the personal address, phone number or credit card number of students or colleagues. Do not use the network in such a way that would disrupt the use of the network by other users. All communications and information accessible via the network should be assumed to be private property.
Schools may publish selected students' work and photographs that include students with the respective parents' written consent. Photographs will not clearly identify individuals and full names will not be used.
The Education Division makes no warranties of any kind, whether expressed or implied for the service it is providing. The Education Division will not be responsible for any damages you suffer. This includes loss of data resulting from delays, non-deliveries, mis-deliveries, or service interruptions caused by its own negligence or user errors or omissions. The Education Division specifically denies any responsibility for the accuracy or quality of information obtained through its services.
Personal Web Page Guidelines
Your own web pages at SchoolNet
Your web pages reflect positively or negatively on your school and on yourself. When you put material on the World-Wide Web, you are publishing it for anybody in the world to read. Although the Education Division or your school takes no responsibility for any information provided by individuals in personal home pages, people outside the community will still connect these materials with pupils and students attending our schools. It is expected that all individuals producing personal pages will keep this fact in mind and maintain their pages accordingly. Additionally, materials on your pages reflect on you, and may be viewed by prospective employers, colleagues, your parents, or anybody else.
Think twice before placing personal information on your pages
Again, your home page is open to anybody in the world with a computer and an Internet connection. Publishing personal information such as your address or telephone number may attract unwanted attention. If you would like feedback, providing your email address is probably the best way to do so.
Respect the privacy of others
Do not provide information about other people without their knowledge and consent.
Web Pages and the Law
Content of web pages must reflect current Maltese laws, as well as Education Division Acceptable Use policies. We respect the rights of individuals to express themselves freely and will, in general, not exercise any control over the contents of individual home pages. However, content which is prohibited by law, such as copyrighted materials used without permission (including software which is not available for free public distribution) or obscene materials, will not be tolerated and will cause your home page to be removed from the system
Personal pages must not contain commercial materials
By definition, personal home pages contain material that is not directly related to school matters. However, this is not meant to include any activity of a commercial, for-profit nature or for political lobbying. As with any Education Division supplied resource, personal pages are not to be used for personal gain.
Personal pages are for your use only
The ability to create personal pages is granted via the same password access used for electronic mail. You are reminded that you are not allowed to share your password with anybody else, and you must be the only person to use the space provided and who will be held responsible for its content.
The amount of space allocated for home pages is limited
Due to resource constraints, the amount of space available for individual home pages is limited. Additional space will be granted only in the most unusual circumstances.
Support for personal home pages is limited
Since personal pages are by definition not official school pages, support is limited. In general people wishing to create personal pages must be prepared to experiment and use Internet documentation on their own when problems arise.
Student home pages are provided only to enrolled students
As with e-mail accounts, students who have stopped attending school, will have their personal home pages deleted. If a student wants copies of their web pages, they must copy their web files onto disk before their account expires. The administrator will send out a warning e-mail before content is deleted.
Safe and Responsible Internet Use
We use the school computers and Internet connection for learning.
These rules will help us to be fair to others and keep everyone safe.
- I will ask permission before using the Internet.
- When using e-mail, I will use only my own login and password, which I will keep secret.
- I will not look at or delete other people's files.
- I will not bring floppy disks or CD-ROMs into school without permission.
- I will only e-mail people I know, or whom my teacher has approved.
- The messages I send will be polite and sensible.
- When sending e-mail, I will not give anybody's home address or phone number, or arrange to meet someone.
- I will ask for permission before opening an e-mail or an e-mail attachment sent by someone I do not know.
- I will not use Internet chat.
- If I see anything I am unhappy with or I receive messages I do not like, I will tell a teacher immediately.
- I know that the school may check my computer files and may monitor the Internet sites I visit.
- I understand that if I deliberately break these rules, I could be stopped from using the Internet or computers.
The school computer system provides Internet access to students. This Responsible Internet Use statement will help protect students and the school by clearly stating what is acceptable and what is not.
- Access to e-mail must only be made via the user's authorised account and password, which must not be given to any other person.
- School computer and Internet use must be appropriate to the student's education.
- Copyright and intellectual property rights must be respected.
- Users are responsible for e-mail they send and for contacts made. The authorities will monitor e-mail use and can access messages sent and received.
- E-mail should be written carefully and politely. Since messages may be forwarded, e-mail is best regarded as public property.
- Anonymous messages and chain letters must not be sent, forwarded, or replied to.
- The use of public chat rooms is not allowed.
- Personal information such as home address and telephone numbers should not be given to anybody over the Internet.
- Use for personal financial gain, gambling, political purposes or advertising is forbidden, content on students' web sites must adhere to the web site content guidelines.
- The security of ICT systems must not be compromised, whether owned by the school or by other organisations or individuals. Attempts at hacking or gaining unauthorised access will be severely dealt with.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I don't sign?
You are at complete liberty to decide whether to give your consent. Your son/daughter will not be able to make use of ICT services unless they are an integral part of a particular syllabus. However, we urge you to do so for the benefit of your son/daughter.
Can I have filtered Internet at home too?
Yes, there are several products that one can use to filter internet at home. Contact your ISP or a trusted computer reseller for further advice.
Will the ICT lesson still include e-mail and Internet if I do not give my consent?
Yes, topics that are directly included in any syllabus will be covered normally, with the participation of your son/daughter.
How reliable is Internet filtering?
Very reliable. However, such systems are never 100% reliable, however there have been very few isolated cases in the past where filtering has malfunctioned.
Should I get a home Internet connection for my son/daughter?
Used properly, the Internet is an invaluable source of information, education and entertainment. It is hard to imagine anyone functioning fully in today's society without an internet connection.
Who will check what e-mails my son/daughter receives?
Messages sent to and by your son/daughter can be monitored by mail administrators. This does not mean that each and every message will be checked, but that suspicious use can and will be investigated.
What if I sign and later change my mind?
In this case you should inform the Head of School, in writing as soon as you change your mind. They would take the necessary steps to ensure that your wishes are respected.
How often do I need to fill in the form?
You only need to do this once. The signed form will be retained with your child's records.
- Chain Letters
- E-mail messages that ask the receiver to resend the message to other users.
- Chat Rooms
- see Internet Relay Chat
- Computer Viruses
- These are small programs that are designed to damage computer systems. Some are more dangerous than others and cause damage both to home and corporate computer users.
- The rights to make copies of and/or use material including computer programs. This is normally purchased from companies and is often referred to as licensing.
- One of the most popular uses of the Internet. With many advantages over traditional post, e-mail users can send messages to other e-mail users around the world at a fraction of the cost and instantly. Photos, sounds and video can be sent with these messages. Messages can also be sent simultaneously to multiple users.
- Gaining unauthorised access to computer systems or programs for any reason is referred to as hacking. It is one of the major threats to data security and is illegal.
- Information Systems
- A generic term that includes any system that handles information. Computer equipment, networks, software all form part of Information Systems.
- The Internet is a worldwide collection of computers that are connected together.
- Internet Content Filtering
- A system that allows or disallows access to specific Internet websites or services. Several programs that do this are available for corporate or home users.
- Internet Relay Chat
- Commonly known as IRC - Real time communication between computer users through typing of messages that takes place in `chat rooms' that can be private as well as public, IRC also allows file sending.
- Software, usually supplied on CD (but also available through other means) needs to be installed before it can be used. This is normally a simple automated process.
- This stands for Internet Service Provider and is normally the company that provides Internet connectivity services to homes and offices.
- List server
- List servers are systems that allow you to form part of a group of people with similar interests. E-mail messages sent to the server by any of the members are passed on to all the other members. Depending on the degree of activity, this may generate a lot of e-mail traffic. Subjects vary greatly.
- When computers are linked together in a way that resources can be shared between users. Networks vary greatly in size with the largest being the Internet.
- Similar to List Server, but messages are not sent by e-mail, but reside on a news server until downloaded, newsgroup topics are vast.
- A secret word which grants access to personalised services or resources. This is the electronic equivalent of a key.
- A computer cannot operate without software. It is software that runs on computers and `tells' them what to do. There are millions of software titles available for work-related, educational and entertainment uses.
- Web Pages
- Pages that normally include text and images which reside on a web server and are accessible to anybody all over the world.
Related Information & Resources
Online Acceptable Use Policy
For an online version of this guide and to download additional forms, please visit:
Email AUP Support
Should you wish to contact the Department of Technology in Education regarding the Acceptable Use Policy, please write to:
Child Safety on the Internet
A set of leaflets regarding safer Internet use has been published and made available to parents and students. For more information on Internet safety, visit:
Agreement on Internet and ICT use
Download the AUP form.