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Singapore Protects Students in Cyberspace Through Media Literacy Education

The Ministry of Education (MOE) released a statement emphasising the importance of discerning the credibility of online information, maintaining that media literacy must be an essential element in school syllabuses. In Singapore, students are taught how to discern online information as part of Cyber Wellness education within the Character and Citizenship Education curriculum, developed by MOE.

At the primary level, students are taught to verify the credibility of online information sources to protect themselves in cyberspace. At the secondary and pre-university levels, students are introduced to a deeper understanding of how fake news, fraud, and phishing scams travel and their consequences. Through class discussions on real-life scenarios, teachers reinforce the importance of checking information online.

Beyond the school curriculum, MOE provides schools with teaching and learning resources on the latest cyber trends and issues, including real-life case studies and tips on how schools can raise awareness of online misinformation. Schools are also equipped with Cyber Wellness resources to engage parents, who are crucial partners in guiding students to be discerning users of the digital space, the statement wrote. MOE and schools will continue to work with parents to guide the youth to be discerning readers and consumers of information.

According to MOE, media literacy can also be helpful to learn English, history, and social studies. At the upper primary and secondary levels, students are taught critical reading and thinking skills, which improve their ability to discern fact from opinion, understand context, establish purpose, and verify the credibility of information. Students cross-check the information and views presented with other sources to determine reliability. They learn to identify signs of incomplete information and falsehoods.

Singapore has been a global leader in education technology adoption since MOE unveiled the ICT-in-Education Masterplan 1 (mp1) in 1997. As per MOE’s website, mp1 provided foundational infrastructure and equipped teachers with a basic level of digital competency, leading to technology being widely accepted for use in education.

In 2003, the mp2 was launched. It was designed to ensure all schools achieve a baseline level of ICT use and support schools that wanted to achieve higher levels of ICT use. It also strived to integrate ICT more heavily in curriculum and assessment. In 2009, MOE rolled out mp3, aiming to enrich and transform the learning environments. It focused on self-directed learning, collaborative learning competencies, and responsible ICT use.

In 2015, the country unveiled the fourth and final ICT-in-Education Masterplan. It was intended to improve quality learning. It centred around fostering responsible digital citizens. The current plan to merge technology and education is the Educational Technology (EdTech) Plan. It aims to guide the development of a technology-enriched school environment. MOE claimed it works through a responsive, agile approach and structure to help the government adapt to technological and contextual changes, ensuring effective use of EdTech for quality teaching and learning. Over the next five to ten years, the plan aims to make education more self-directed, personalised, connected and human-centred. It intends to increase teachers’ capacity for teaching with technology, strengthen digital safety, and create responsive structures and processes.

The government and supporting organisations, agencies and institutions have deployed a number of platforms and initiatives to boost digital awareness and access to education. The nation plans to boost the quantity of locally created bilingual children’s books and promote authors of mother tongue materials, extend the learning marketplace so anybody can read, research and understand the nation’s multi-cultural heritage.

Through a three-year strategic partnership, Singapore’s National Library Board (NLB) and Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism (LKYFB) have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to provide additional Mother Tongue Language (MTL) resources and programmes to promote bilingualism from a young age and increase the number of local MTL writers.

More Singaporeans like to read for enjoyment and go digitally to get information so the National Library Board will use these findings to shape its outreach and programmes to keep up with changing reading habits. To support NLB’s policies for encouraging reading and participation among residents, the National Reading Habits Study strives to comprehend the reading preferences of adult and teenage residents in Singapore

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