KPMG teams up with GEMS Education to launch Cyber Day program to build awareness among UAE students

Program marks International Cyber Security Awareness Month in October

Dubai, 2 October 2019: KPMG Lower Gulf has teamed up with GEMS Education, one of the world’s leading private education company known for providing quality education to launch the KPMG Cyber Day program. Pledging to reach out to more than 6,000 students across 27 local schools, the program aims to raise awareness about the importance of cyber security and online safety.

KPMG’s Cyber Day program has been running internationally for three years, and has launched for the first time in the UAE in 2019. This year’s participants include 55 other countries such as the US, UK, Spain, China and Australia. The training material has been created by KPMG’s Global Cyber Security practice and sessions will be led by member firms’ cyber experts across the identified schools.

Over fifty KPMG professionals have volunteered to carry out trainings in the UAE, and will host cyber security educational sessions for students as part of this annual initiative. The program coincides with International Cyber Security Awareness month, which aims to build a culture of cyber security around the world.

Tim Wood, Head of Cyber Security, KPMG Lower Gulf, said: “According to recent studies, nearly half of young people spend more than three hours per day on social media. Given that young people are spending more time online it’s increasingly important to raise awareness among students to ensure they behave safely and responsibly online. With GEMS Education, we are taking a positive step in this direction, and we look forward to empowering more students with the tools necessary to stay cyber safe.”

Krishnan Gopi, Chief Disruption Officer, GEMS Education said: “Digital adoption is bringing about positive change in many areas of our lives. However, the proliferation of technology also challenges us to better understand issues related to its use among children, including their safety and wellbeing. Being the largest private K12 education provider in the world, it is crucial that we lead by example and educate future generations about cyber-crime. We firmly believe that promoting awareness among our students and community is the key to online safety”.

According to a recent Children’s Society UK report, nearly half (44%) of young people spend more than three hours per day on social media, and almost one in ten (9%) use social media between midnight and 6 a.m. The same study found that young people who are currently experiencing a mental health problem are more than three times likely to have been bullied online in the last year.

Sara Hedger, Head of Safeguarding and Child Protection at GEMS Education said: “At GEMS Education we believe the key to being safe in the digital world is not banning or restricting technology but to educate students, parents and staff about positive online behaviors and raise awareness of how their interactions with technology can have safety implications. Understanding the dangers, access to good quality information and being able to make good choices about our behaviors are essential. That is why we are delighted to be working with KPMG to take part in Cyber Day and deliver this really important message.”

KPMG is committed to improving society and communities, and their global approach to citizenship prioritizes Quality Education and Lifelong Learning. In the second year itself, the Cyber Day program ran across 45 countries and collectively trained more than 80,000 students in over 250 schools across six continents. In fact, KPMG India was awarded a Guinness World Records® achievement for conducting the "largest computer security lesson at multiple locations" to spread cyber awareness among students.