Brazil fighting fake news in the classroom
SAO PAULO: Brazil has taken a stand against the explosion of “fake news” stories swamping the Internet by making media analysis studies compulsory for schoolchildren.
“The aim is to teach students to identify fake news, and now it’s part of the national curriculum because the country has decided it’s necessary,” said Leandro Beguoci, editorial director at Brazilian education specialists Nova Escola.
Media analysis studies became compulsory in December last year, but have been offered alongside traditional subjects for years in some schools.
Kayo Rodrigues, 14, said the press was not perfect, but played a vital role in combating fake news. She enrolled in the “Young Press” programme launched six years ago in the Casa Blanca public school here.
At Casa Blanca, teachers Lucilene Varandas and Hildenor Gomes do Santos ensured their students, aged 8 to 14, know not to take everything at face value.
“When I receive a piece of information, I look for it on the Internet and ask myself if it’s true,” said pupil Helena Vital, 11.
“Now I know that things aren’t so bad, the whole country isn’t going to collapse,” she added.
Such media analysis studies would not necessarily create a new generation of wannabe reporters, though.
Vital, for one, was suspicious about the press that “is sometimes flawed in its credibility”.
Asked if she would like to one day become a journalist, Vital said: “I prefer swimming!”
A pupil attending a lesson on fake news at a school in Sao Paulo, Brazil, recently.