First Cohort Completes USAID-supported ASEAN Training Program to Address Disinformation and Promote Media Literacy
Jakarta, INDONESIA June 8, 2022 – Educators, along with parents and caregivers, are on the frontlines of helping young people discern fact from fiction in today’s ever-evolving age of disinformation. As social media usage continues to increase in Southeast Asia, including among youth, senior education officials in ASEAN launched a new Training-of-Trainers Program to Counter Disinformation and Promote Media Literacy for educators with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The first cohort of trainers from across ASEAN member states completed the ToT Program this week.
From May 17 to June 8, forty-two educators from ten ASEAN member states took a deep dive into the ToT Toolkit for Educators while exchanging their own efforts and experiences related to disinformation and enhancing media information literacy. Using the toolkit, country teams worked together to contextualize curriculum modules to their respective classrooms and countries. In the finale showcase, country teams highlighted localized curriculum modules and provisional plans to share their modules via online platforms for educators; integrate into ICT and “global citizenship” curricula; and further scale the program through teacher training institutions. Representatives from the ASEAN education and information sectors and the Association of Southeast Asian Teacher Education Network (AsTEN) provided guidance and shared insights in cascading the program at the national level.
In his closing remarks for Group 1 (Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore), Dr. Roger Chao, the Head of Education, Youth and Sports Division of ASEAN Secretariat underscored that: “Developing courses alone is not enough, we need to work across national and regional institutions and local communities… This pilot ToT is one of the initial stepping stones, to advocate and communicate our enthusiasm behind this effort to promote media literacy.”
Since 2020, USAID, through the ASEAN-USAID Partnership for Regional Optimization within the Political-Security and Socio-Cultural Communities (ASEAN-USAID PROSPECT) project, has been working closely with ASEAN stakeholders to build youth “social media resilience” and critical thinking skills through media literacy education with the development and dissemination of the Training-of-Trainers (ToT) program.
William Trigg, USAID/ASEAN Acting Office Director reaffirmed that “Revitalizing education and countering dangerous misinformation and disinformation online are important priorities for the Biden Administration, alongside pandemic response and recovery efforts. Through this U.S. government-supported training program led by USAID, educators will be better equipped with resources to provoke meaningful discussion about media information literacy and disinformation.”
Recognizing the diverse media, information, and education landscapes across ASEAN member states, the ToT Program was designed as an open-source resource for tailoring by educators. Looking ahead, as part of its ongoing collaboration with the Senior Officials Meeting in Education and ASEAN, USAID will provide additional support to disseminate and promote the ToT Program pilot training through select initiatives