Training the young to choose the right

As smartphone and Internet use increases, news also spreads fast. This has led to huge changes in the news sector. This change, though, should be for the good of society and mankind. For this, a mechanism to identify falsehoods and expose them should come up, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said.

He was speaking at the inauguration of Satyamev Jayate, a comprehensive information-literacy programme targeted at the next generation, as part the government’s 10-point programme.

Mr. Vijayan said news dissemination and reception had changed fundamentally in the past decade. Today, each smartphone user was in possession of his or her own communication platform. However, this had brought with it new challenges.

Truth and and lies, reality and belief received the same consideration. Truth and facts took a step back when the main consideration was for information to reach maximum number of people. Even anti-social elements were using it for their vested interests. News was not posted after fact-checking or received after examining reality. As a result, even unscientific and illogical information spread among the masses, be it related to vaccination or climate change. Social media was being used to spread hatred, even communal divisiveness, Mr. Vijayan said.

Through the Satyamev Jayate project, the new generation would be taught about the influence of online information, the extent of spread of falsehoods, the intention behind false propaganda, and what citizens could do to get real news. They would be taught not to believe everything blindly and accept information only after verifying the truth, the Chief Minister said.

Satyamev Jayate, he said, would be implemented in phases. In the initial phase, special classes would be telecast on KITE VICTERS channel as part of First Bell digital classes for students from Classes 1 to 11 except those of Class 10. Four modules would be telecast this month and three in March. So each module would be telecast at least 10 times to reach parents and the public, besides 35 lakh students. These would also be available on the KITE VICTERS portal for viewing any time, Mr. Vijayan said.

The second phase beginning in May will comprise a media and information-literacy project. Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education’s Little KITEs units in schools will be deployed for providing training using a three-hour module. For this, 5,000 KITE masters will be equipped to work as trainers. Also, the nearly 1.2 lakh Little KITEs members will provide training. IT equipment deployed in schools as part of the high-tech school project too will be used for this. Nearly 50 lakh students and teachers will be given direct media and information-literacy training. Videos for this are being produced by the Information and Public Relations Department.

Satyamev Jayate would help the next generation grow up with the ability to discriminate between truth and lies, with a scientific bent of mind, the Chief Minister said, adding that it would stand them in good stead all their lives.

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