Safeguarding personal data in education

In accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), we need to safeguard personal data in education. Do you ever consider how you share documents or students' results? Do you occasionally leave your computer on when leaving the room? It is not always clear how essential privacy in education is, which is why we have compiled a list of the key aspects. In a university environment, it is important to keep these in mind.

What information are we talking about when addressing privacy in education?

When we talk about privacy, we are talking about a person’s right to determine to what extent their personal data is shared or processed. This data concerns details which directly or when combined with other details can be traced back to an individual. Familiar ‘everyday’ personal data includes names and email addresses, but there is more: student numbers, results lists, photographs, material submitted by students, attendance lists, student ID cards, and copies of passports are all examples of personal data.

What do I need to know about privacy in education?

Every staff member and student has rights and obligations regarding the protection of personal data. In education this means that you have to pay attention to certain things and must avoid other things. For example, you have to make certain that you never handle students' personal data in a sloppy fashion by leaving it lying around. You are also not permitted to use tools and functions if you are not sure that these tools guarantee the security of personal data. If you need advice, consult your local privacy officer.

Why do I have to consider protection of personal data in education?

Under the GDPR, everyone is entitled to their personal data being safeguarded properly. This means that you, as a teacher, cannot freely share your students' or colleagues' personal data with third parties without a lawful base, purpose, or without informing them beforehand. When in doubt, consult your local privacy officer. If you share personal data illegally with third parties or if you run the risk of doing so, you may have caused a data breach. Data breaches always need to be reported to the ICT Helpdesk. 

Have you discovered a data breach?

Report data breaches always as soon as possible to the ICT Helpdesk (+31 24 362 22 22).


Do you have questions about using ICT software in education or about sharing personal data? Please contact the local privacy officer of your faculty or department.

Read more about privacy and personal information or about the privacy statement of Radboud University.