This school teaches its students to identify fake news!

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Each new innovation brings with it its own set of challenges. With the advent of social media, the challenge is to contain the spread of fake news. Facebook, which has been in news after its popular messaging platform, ‘WhatApp’ was used to spread rumours resulting in several incidents of mob lynching in the country, is struggling to find solutions to this problem. Even though it has taken a series of tech measures to contain the spread of misinformation from its platform, it has now decided to roll out a massive awareness campaign to educate people about the need to check the veracity of received information before forwarding it to others. And while government and companies are doing their bit, several schools have come forward to educate their students about how to differentiate between fake and real news? One such school is Nehru World School, located at Ghaziabad in UP.

The school has rolled out a programme wherein it explains its students about fake news and how to spot such news. Students here are taught not to believe any message/news which comes their way, even if the message has been sent by their most trusted aid (friend or family member). They are trained to check the source of news, author and his credentials, date of the forwarded message (that is, how old is the information/video which is in circulation at that time), to identify the difference between joke, satire and serious messages, and read beyond the headlines.

But what prompted the school to introduce this course?

“Hearing conversations amongst students and their point of views during classroom discussions made us think about clearing the air. With WhatsApp and Facebook becoming primary news channels without any filter, the misinformation amongst all is at an all time high,” said Arunabh Singh, Director, Nehru World School.

And what has been the response of students?

“The students have been talking about the programme in their classrooms and also in their neighbourhood, which we believe is a positive sign,” said Singh, adding, “We are also aware that we will need to sustain this effort over time to really bring about a difference.”

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