KUALA LUMPUR, September 3 – More than 1,200 educators across the country have joined the Media Education Academy (MEA) media literacy program in an effort to combat disinformation and fake news.
MEA is a media education program of Media Education For All (ME4A), a national movement of social enterprise Arus Academy and impact media collective The Fourth, in collaboration with 15 specially selected educators.
It was launched today via a virtual event featuring Azhar Ahman, Director of the Teacher Professionalism Division of the Ministry of Education (MOE).
“In the media-saturated world we live in today, it has become more important than ever for us to equip our children with the skills to navigate the sea of available information. This is where media education can play a critical role in making our students wiser and more responsible media consumers, ”said Azhar.
Another special guest at the launch was the Dean of the Faculty of Communication and Languages at Pendidikan Sultan Idris University (UPSI), Associate Professor Mazura @ Mastura Muhammad.
“While this initiative is something new, in this fast-paced information technology age, it is our responsibility to explore and find ways to teach students the best methods for gathering information, critically analyze and make sound decisions, ”she said.
Educators who complete the MEA program will teach what they have learned in their respective schools, preparing their students to become responsible and empowered media users.
Professional journalists and advocates hailed the MEA program, calling for the enrollment of more teachers, schools and state education departments.
“As we’ve seen throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, misinformation can be deadly. It can cause chaos and allow social injustice to flourish. This is why the MEA is so important – we need to equip our children with media literacy skills so that they can put an end to disinformation in the years to come, and one of the best ways to do this is to go through our teachers, ”former Ian Yee said the editor of Star Media Group’s award-winning RAGE team.
Center for Independent Journalism (CIJ) executive director Wathshlah Naidu said the MEA program anchors education around media literacy in the school curriculum at all levels, adding that it is imperative that different stakeholders come together to ensure that media literacy can be part of the daily process.
Arus Academy began developing MEA earlier this year when it recruited 15 founding educators and paired them with local media professionals to create a uniquely localized media literacy program.
“The public should know that education is not static. It must change and adapt to the needs of the times. I am very grateful for this opportunity to allow us to tackle this issue, ”said Arus Academy co-founder David Chak.
Educators can also enter the MEA Challenge, a national competition for teachers and lecturers to create educational materials that incorporate media and information literacy skills into their lessons.
The teaching materials will be kept in a resource bank accessible to all Malaysian educators, with the winners of the challenge taking home a total of RM 10,000 in cash prizes. To learn more about the program, send a direct message to the campaign’s Facebook page at facebook.com/mediaedu4all or the Telegram group at t.me/mediaedu4all.