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. While preventing violent extremism can be complex and involve various actors and stakeholders, education can play an important role in preventing violent extremism.
It is well-researched and documented that 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 behavior. Consequently, education initiatives must look both within and beyond the classroom to address the root causes that contribute to forms of violence and violent extremism.
The UN Secretary General's Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, which was presented to the UN General Assembly in January 2016 and highlighted in the Geneva Conference on Preventing Violent Extremism in April 2016, highlights education interventions as one of the “actions” to prevent violent extremism.
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.
Preventing Violent Extremism aims to address the root causes of violent extremism through non-coercive approaches. Education is a critically important part of that process.
Some examples of how education can contribute towards preventing violent extremism:
Curriculum: Curricula should encourage multiple viewpoints and develop critical thinking skills.
Teachers, schools and educational institutions: Teachers should be recruited to represent a diverse range of social and ethnic groups and differing views within a society. Schools should create an atmosphere of tolerance and harmony, and engage with the community, religious and political institutions, and provide a safe space to everyone including minorities.
Access: Access to education should be universal and socioeconomic statusm gender, ethnicity, or language, should not be barriers to a quality education.
The INEE Education Policy Working Group (EPWG), with support from partners, has compiled a catalogue of resources on education and preventing violent extremism (PVE). 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.
Preventing Violent Extremism: Turning A Threat Into An Opportunity For The Private Sector, Dr. Khalid Koser, 20 July 2016
Preventing Violent Extremism: What Role for Education and Training? Laetitia Houlmann and Aude Mellet, 7 April 2016
Here's What the Social Science Says About Countering Violent Extremism, Scott Atran, 25 April 2015
The Rohingya and Islamic Extremism: A Convenient Myth, Elliot Brennan & Christopher O'Hara, 29 June 2015
Why Countering Extremism Fails, Humera Khan, 18 February 2015 (subscription required)
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