Education and extremism

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Helpdesk Query:

What is the evidence/experience on how education interventions can minimise the risk that they contribute to extremism and maximise their impact on countering extremism?


This research identified three key components which can help build resilience to extremism amongst young people and identified support factors that underpin them. These are 1) Making a connection through effective design and a youth-centred approach; 2) Facilitating a safe space for dialogue and positive interaction; and 3) Equipping young people with appropriate capabilities – skills, knowledge, understanding and awareness.

Literature highlighted in this report on education and extremism is separated into three sections: general perspective; viewpoints of ‘southern’ countries; and viewpoints of ‘northern’ countries.

The author highlights the possible disconnect from the interventions proposed under ‘proactive’ extremism prevention programmes possible within a ‘northern’ country context compared to the implementation of similar interventions in a ‘southern’ country context where the country is possibly recovering or suffering from extremism. And also that ‘education’ does not just take place in the classroom and that it is important for any response that broader societal processes support and underpin the formal education and learning.

Recommendations include:

  • Develop relationships with the ‘right’ groups
  • Empower the next generation of leaders
  • Train community service organisations to expand and improve upon existing programmes
  • Support evaluation



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