Teaching students how to spot ‘fake news’ is important for UK schools

The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development’s education director has said that schools should teach young people about how to identify ‘fake news’ as he plans to include questions about “global competencies” in the next round of international Pisa tests.

The OECD is committed to developing global policies that help to improve social and economic wellbeing. Mr Schleicher says students need more places to exchange ideas, and should look beyond the social media “echo chamber” on sites like Facebook and Twitter, where they are only exposed to views that are similar to their own.

“In the past, when you needed information, you went to an encyclopedia…and you could trust that the information would be true. This assessment is about the capacity of young people to engage with diversity, to be open to that, to draw value out of it… Distinguishing what is true from what is not is a critical judgement. Exposing fake news, being aware that there is something like fake news…that you have to question, think critically – that’s a very important task,” says Mr Schleicher.

He linked this addition to the tests with young people from Europe travelling to the Middle East to fight for the so-called Islamic State. This, he claims, is “an outcome of the thinking that there is only one truth and there’s only one way to live”.

His forecast is that the UK will do well in such tests on what he calls “global competencies”. He claims UK schools are already much more successful at integrating migrants than French schools – something that could be linked to the Prevent Duty of all UK schools staff.

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