Media literacy should be incorporated in the syllabus

What you need to know:

  • Media literacy as a sole subject will equip young learners with the skills to critically evaluate media content, ensuring the information they consume is accurate and reliable.

The content, visuals, information, and experiences we encounter daily through media play a significant role in shaping our beliefs, attitudes, values, and sense of self. When utilised effectively,  media has the power to entertain, educate, and engage our children in positive ways. 

It also aids young individuals in developing essential skills for navigating the digital age. Moreover, media provides a platform for children and youth to express themselves and connect with like-minded peers. It’s worth noting that it also facilitates the maintenance of relationships with family and friends who may be geographically distant.

Furthermore, in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve gained valuable insights into how children learn and how we can optimise technology for educational purposes.

By encompassing skills such as accessing, analysing, evaluating, creating, and participating in various forms of media, media literacy equips individuals with the tools they need to navigate the complex media landscape. It empowers them to be discerning consumers of information, capable of critically evaluating the messages they encounter.

The Center for Media Literacy defines media literacy as “a framework to access, analyse, evaluate, create and participate with messages in a variety of forms — from print to video to the Internet.”

The US-based non-profit organisation that is dedicated to promoting media literacy education, also notes that media literacy builds an understanding of the role of media in society as well as essential skills of inquiry and self-expression necessary for citizens of a democracy. It encapsulates the multifaceted nature of media literacy and its significance in today’s information-rich society.

Understanding the role of media in society is a crucial aspect of media literacy. It allows individuals to recognise the influence that media exerts on public opinion, cultural norms, and societal values. This awareness is essential for active and informed citizenship in a democracy.

Furthermore, the emphasis on inquiry and self-expression underscores the active and participatory nature of media literacy. It encourages individuals not only to consume media passively but also to engage with it, question it, and even create their own content.

In an era where media plays such a pervasive role in our lives, promoting media literacy is vital for fostering a well-informed and critically thinking citizenry. It empowers individuals to navigate the complexities of the modern media landscape and make informed decisions about the information they encounter.

Media literacy is just as crucial as traditional literacy and should be integrated into educational curricula. Beyond the immediate acquisition of skills, it instills a valuable perspective of continuous learning, which is especially vital in a dynamic field like media.

This reinforces the idea that knowledge is not static but a constantly growing asset that should be actively sought and welcomed throughout one’s lifetime. This mindset is invaluable and will help Generation Z stay relevant and adaptable in an ever-changing professional landscape.

As a subject, it will reinforce young learner’s dedication to lifelong learning. The ever-evolving nature of media demands continuous adaptation and growth. They will be equipped to stay updated with emerging trends and technologies, using them to amplify messages and values effectively.

One of the most significant skills that will be acquired is the power of discernment. From a tender age, earners will be able to critically analyse media content, distinguishing between reliable information and potential biases. This ability will ensure they’re not swayed by misleading narratives, allowing them to make informed decisions in a world saturated with information.

By understanding the impact of media on public discourse, media literacy as a subject will empower our children to make responsible contributions to the collective narrative. It will reinforce their sense of duty in ensuring every action ought to have a positive and constructive influence.

One of the fundamental values of any morally upright society is the importance of making informed decisions.

Media literacy as a sole subject will equip young learners with the skills to critically evaluate media content, ensuring the information they consume is accurate and reliable. This aligns with society’s belief in the power of knowledge and its role in decision-making.

Incorporating it in a carefully knitted school syllabus and making it examinable – should be a deliberate and conscious choice to align our children’s actions and behaviours with our society’s deeply held values.

It will provide pupils with the knowledge and tools to navigate the media landscape in a way that reflects the principles we, as a society, hold dear, ultimately allowing them to engage with media in a manner that is consistent with our ethical and moral compass.

George Ooro, Journalist, art critic, digital stories, and cross-cultural curator.         X (Twitter): @OoroGeorge