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Educating Ourselves to Combat Fake News and Disinformation

Kelvene Requiroso

Posted on March 14, 2019 20:24

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As society evolves, education increasingly becomes more important, leaving no room for intellectual stagnation.

We live in a free society and a rapidly changing world shaped by scientific developments and technological innovation. Ours is a knowledge-based economy that requires creativity and resourcefulness in order to remain relevant.

In a democracy, we enjoy the freedom enshrined in our laws and political institutions. Besides freedom, we have access to resources to enhance ourselves and grow as productive individuals.

Despite all the science and technology-driven changes, we see, however, the world is far from the ideal place we envisioned it to be. There is yet a long way to go in order to make it a better place. We are still facing the perennial problems of poverty, violence, diseases, and climate change. And our business and political institutions have failed us with disinformation and breach of privacy, demagoguery, and threats to democracy.

And it is only in the last few years that we have come to recognize the role of women in society. Women have endured and overcome difficulties in the workplace including sexual harassment, objectification, and getting lower pay than what men receive for the same amount of work. Now, they have spoken and let their voices be heard.

We know that the internet is a great source of information and a resource for learning. But the online world is also filled with “fake news.” Most troubling is the fact that many internet users are vulnerable to false stories and scams, receiving them as truth without verifying the facts.

All this disinformation and false stories have helped catapult dictators and fascists to power through democratic processes. In some democracies around the world, people have made their choices. And they chose leaders who robbed them of their freedom, opportunities, and basic humanity. In effect, they have given up the ideals and values that make society progressive.

Not only that, but the internet also becomes a flea market of cheap degrees, education scams, and fake university diplomas that have no value. We need to beware of such modus operandi. That is why choosing an educational institution is critical. We should not get fooled by online diploma mills and pay for useless certificates.

Perhaps, the answer to the people’s gullibility to fake news and disinformation is continuing education, because it enables us to make an informed interpretation of texts and form opinions based on facts.

Change comes with daunting challenges. There is a great deal of pressure to improve ourselves, enhance critical thinking skills, and pursue further learning. Getting left behind is not an option. If not for self-development, we must educate ourselves continuously to empower others. As we become aware of our needs, we are also mindful of the people around us.

Learning can be fun. Meeting new people in an environment where you create knowledge together enriches social well-being. It helps us to have a positive outlook and transform the way we see things. As society evolves, education increasingly becomes more important, leaving no room for intellectual stagnation. 

Kelvene Requiroso

Posted on March 14, 2019 20:24

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Source: Al Jazeera

Patrick Awuah wins conference's top prize as leading minds discuss fake news and education in a 'post-truth' world.

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