THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The issue of fake information spreading online has become so pressing in Kerala, that the state government had to entrust the education department to start a continuous learning programme that can enable students to fight it at the grassroots level in 2016. The programme, announced by the Chief Minister, has covered many colleges and higher secondary schools in the state and nearly six lakh students received primary orientation recently.
Titled ‘Satyameva Jayate’, the programme, piloted in schools in Kannur by then district collector Mir Mohammed Ali, was a huge success. Mir is now the IT secretary to the chief minister, and considering how online classes have increased the dependence of children on the internet lately, a decision was made to spread the project to the rest of the state. The programme has two main modules. The first module addresses six points — what is misinformation/fake news? why should we be aware of them? why does fake news spread faster? how do people gain out of spreading fake news? what are the important points to remember while creating content for social media? what are our responsibilities as citizens? The second module consists of methods to identify fake news.
“If we provide the students with the know-how, it will reach their parents too,” said Mir. The officials are positive that frequent follow-up sessions will sensitise students about the issue. Teachers, from various colleges across the state, were grouped into a State Resource Group (SRG) as the first step.