The International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) in collaboration with the FactCheckHub on Tuesday, February 14, 2023 trained some teachers and students of Government Secondary School, Wuse Zone 3 in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital territory on fact-checking.
The capacity building session on fact-checking which targets staff and students of secondary schools in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) is part of the organisations’ aim at countering the spread of misinformation and disinformation in the country.
“We want our students and teachers to know that fake news spreads faster than good news and to understand how to identify them especially on social media,” says Mrs. Mary Ajibola, an Assistant Director at the FCT Secondary Education Board (FCT SEB), who represented the board’s director at the event.
During the sessions, teachers and students from the school were taking through step by step guide on how to identify fake news and phishing websites, digital archival system, image and video verification as well as online security.
The editor and Team Lead at the FactCheckHub, Opeyemi Kehinde, who led the facilitators, explained that fact-checking is the process of verifying information and ensuring that “what you’re reading is accurate.” He listed what can be fact-checked thus: misinformation, disinformation and malformation.
Other facilitators at the event include Shehu Olayinka, a Fact-checker and head of ICIR’s social media unit; Olugbenga Adanikin, a fact-checker and ICIR’s head of Investigation, and Nurudeen Akewushola, a fact-checker with the FactCheckHub.
The training emphasized the need for students and teachers to develop and deploy their critical thinking skills when consuming information from online platforms and how to verify the accuracy of such information.
Some teachers and students at the event expressed gratitude to the organisers as they revealed that the sessions enlightened them and thus will enable them to be more responsible with sharing information, especially on social media.
“I like the methodology that you are using. It is very interactive and very good. It is an outstanding programme,” says Suleiman Isah, a teacher at the school.
Some of the students who spoke also noted that the seminar has taught them how not to be purveyors of fake news and the need to always check sources of information they see, read or watch on social media platforms.
In her brief remark, the school’s Principal, Mrs. Funmilayo Kayode, thanked the organisers for putting up the training programme. She advised students to take advantage of the opportunity to develop more skills that are essential for survival in this information age.
Also speaking, Alfred Akerele, the Programmes Officer at The ICIR in his closing remarks, thanked the FCT Secondary Education Board and management of the school for making their teachers and students available for the training.
He noted that this is the pilot phase of the project, as more teachers and students across secondary schools in the FCT would be empowered through trainings to grow the fact-checking culture and encourage responsible online civic space in the country.