This non-binding good practices document1 focuses on the ways in which education can be used as a resource and a tool by policymakers, teachers and educators, community-based and other non-governmental organizations (NGO), and families and parents to prevent and counter violent extremism. Education can be leveraged as a tool to achieve both beneficial and harmful results in the context of violent extremism. Therefore, governments, civil society, and the private sector should work together to identify the myriad ways in which education can be utilized to build resilience and reduce recruitment and radicalization to violent extremism.
The starting point for the effective role of education in countering violent extremism (CVE) is access to and protection of schools as a safe space – both physically and intellectually. Because education is a universal value, educational environments can be a space for CVE interventions that are effective across cultures and contexts. As with any CVE programming, CVE educational interventions are only relevant if they address the local push and pull factors leading to radicalization and recruitment. Quality education alone is not sufficient for CVE, but it can broadly enable results-based CVE efforts in the education sector.
The Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) identified education as one of its priorities in the GCTF CVE Working Group inaugural meeting in April 2012 in Abu Dhabi. Since that time, Hedayah and other GCTF partners have organized a number of experts’ workshops, training sessions, and other activities which focused on the role of education in CVE.
The good practices in this document draw from the discussions and recommendations that emerged from these activities, the existing literature related to CVE and education, and in consultation with relevant experts. The primary focus of this document is on how CVE policies and programs can be developed at the primary and secondary school levels, with limited references to higher education. Although it has been widely recognized that educational institutions can be utilized as a radicalizing tool, the purpose of this document is to provide concrete options for how education can be utilized in a positive way to prevent and counter violent extremism without securitizing the education sector. The list below is not meant to be an exhaustive one, but rather a starting point to illustrate various education approaches to CVE.
GCTF members will support the implementation of the following good practices with the subsequent development of an Action Agenda to provide guidance to interested States on tailored application and implementation.
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