Students taught skills to spot fake news

We refer to Mr Phillip Tan Fong Lip's letter (Teach students how to spot fake news; July 27) in which he asked if there are school programmes to teach students to discern fake news and its associated falsehoods.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) recognises the challenge that fake news presents for our students.

We are committed to providing them with the skills to take charge of their own well-being in cyberspace.

Communication, collaboration and information skills are competencies taught in the school curriculum of primary, secondary and junior college students.

This includes the development of "information literacy" - the ability to seek and verify information, and connect with others to create meaningful new learning.

In schools, information literacy is infused into a variety of subjects like English, general paper, history and social studies. Teachers guide students to distinguish fact from opinion, to assess information presented, and verify the authority and credibility of sources.

Information literacy is also incorporated into the cyber wellness (CW) syllabus for primary and secondary schools. Through CW, students learn that being responsible digital users involves verifying the credibility of online information sources and refraining from sharing unverified posts.

To reinforce learning from the CW lessons, the MOE provides schools with resources on the latest cyber trends and issues, including real-life case studies and tips on how to raise awareness of online misinformation.

Schools are also equipped with CW resources to engage parents - crucial partners in sensitising children to be discerning users of the digital space.

The MOE will continue to work with our educators and parents to guide our young to be discerning readers and consumers of information.

Beatrice Chong (Ms)

Director, English Language and Literature

Ministry of Education

Choy Wai Yin (Madam)

Director, Guidance Branch

Ministry of Education

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 04, 2018, with the headline 'Students taught skills to spot fake news'. Print Edition | Subscribe