The number of violent extremist attacks committed across the world has increased sharply in recent years. And there are more attacks on schools and students than ever before.
An important step to prevent violent attacks in the future is to examine and tackle the root causes of violent extremism. Preventing violent extremism (PVE) is complex and involves various actors and stakeholders. While education is frequently the target of violent extremism, it can also be part of the solution to preventing violent extremism and reducing other forms of violence.
The United Nation’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, which aims to tackle the root causes of violent extremism, lists education as a tool against extremism and the violence that can result from it.
However, there are two ‘faces’ to education: education can promote inclusion, strengthen social cohesion, and develop a more engaged citizenry. Conversely, education can exacerbate existing tensions and divisions, reproduce structures of exclusion and inequality, and promote harmful practices and violent behaviour. Education initiatives must therefore look both within and beyond the classroom to address the root causes that contribute to forms of violence and violent extremism.
To support efforts to better understand the role of education to preventing violent extremism, the INEE has gathered resources on education and violent extremism, which can help policy-makers, teachers, principals, trainers, and researchers understand better the link between education and violent extremism and help promote the positive ‘face’ of education.
Violent extremism refers to the use of violence in line with an ideological commitment to achieve political, religious, or social goals. These violent acts can be carried out by any individual or group from a range of beliefs and ideologies.
One way of conceptualizing the factors that may lead to violent extremism is the idea of ‘push’ and ‘pull’ influences:
Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) refers to an approach which aims to address the root causes of violent extremism through non-coercive approaches.
Some examples of how education can contribute towards preventing violent extremism and address “push and pull factors”:
The INEE Education Policy Working Group (EPWG) has created a resource pack to introduce the relationship between Education and PVE. The pack includes a video (in all INEE languages) and a catalogue of published resources on the subject. These resources are available for individuals or groups to engage with education and PVE.
This paper, conceptualized by the INEE subgroup on Youth, Violence and Peacebuilding, looks at working definitions relating to prevention of violent extremism, and education's role therein. The paper presents current thinking and up-to-date research, and provides some examples of how education can contribute towards preventing violence.
The 5-minute video -- available with subtitles in English, Arabic, French, Spanish, and Portuguese -- looks at some definitions of PVE and education’s role in fostering inclusive and equitable environments, encouraging critical thinking, promoting tolerance and respect for diversity, and thereby contributing to wider social cohesion and the reduction of violence in all forms.
This database contains over one hundred resources (articles, studies, research reports, books) on education and violent extremism. The aim of this catalogue is to make resources on PVE and education readily available to practitioners, academics, and all those working in the field of education in fragile and crisis-affected contexts.
For the user’s convenience, INEE has organized the information by searchable fields including year of publication, author, organization, region/country of focus (if any), and keywords. While the catalogue includes a thorough list of existing literature in this field, it is by no means exhaustive. This is a live database, and INEE encourages those interested to continue feeding into the catalogue by sharing valuable resources via email: email@example.com.
Click to access the catalogue of PVE resources (Google Sheet).
On October 21, 2015, the INEE Education and Fragility Working Group (EFWG) held a Round Table/Symposium on "The Role of Education & Youth in Preventing Urban Violence and Countering Violent Extremism".
The aims of the round table were:
Click to find out more about the Round Table, including the organizers and presenters, and to download the presentations and other resources.
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