From the 14th to the 16th of September 2021, the South African Communication Association held their annual conference at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. The theme of this year’s conference was “Unravelling Big Tech: Power and the Global South”.
On the 16th of September, Herman Wasserman and Chikezie Uzuegbunam presented at SACCOM on their paper, co-authored with Dani Madrid Morales, titled Misinformation literacy at South African schools: A needs assessment. This paper was based off of a broader project conducted with Africa Check, An Assessment of Media Literacy and Fact-Checking Training Needs in South African Schools.
Their paper aims to investigate and identify knowledge and skill gaps related to teaching about misinformation, exploring the current state of media literacy teaching in South Africa, what teachers believe should be taught and what is preventing the implementation of theses topics being taught in the classroom. Their findings showed that there is limited formal and comprehensive teaching of media literacy, although some aspects such as cyberbullying and online safety is part of the Life Orientation curriculum. They also found that there was little focus on misinformation literacy in the classroom and that some schools offered their own workshops outside of the dedicated curriculum.