In recognition of the devastating impact of ISIL/Da’esh in terms of infrastructural damage as well as psychosocial impact on thousands of young people in Iraq, the Conference “Education after Da’esh” held in Baghdad in March 2017 identified the importance of the role of education in preventing violent extremism and addressing radicalization of youth. It called upon support in developing educational capacity in liberated areas and wider Iraq to integrate PVE in school programmes and educational policies to promote tolerance and peaceful co-existence contributing to long term prevention of violent extremism.
In effect to this agenda the pilot project Prevention of Violent Extremism through Education in Government Primary Schools in Mosul funded by the Government of the Netherlands commenced in November 2018 with the aim to build the capacity and pedagogies to build primary school learners’ resilience to violent extremism ideologies and strengthen their commitments to non-violence and peace through appropriate educational strategies. UNESCO is closely working together with the Iraqi Ministry of Education and the Department of Education Ninewa and implementing partner ZOA (Dutch INGO) and the Iraqi Institution for Development (IID) as well as the International Center for the Prevention of Violent Extremism (ICPVE) for the implementation of this project.
Building on the outcomes of the pilot project, the Voices of the children of Old Mosul: the rehabilitation and management of primary schools in historic urban context emerging from conflict project was undersigned in February 2019 funded by the Government of Japan. This project aims to take a more holistic school-based approach to PVE in furthering training to support four key elements that influence the experience of children’s learning – parents, teachers, school principals and school policies and procedures.
Objectives of PVE-E projects in Mosul
- Building the capacity and pedagogies to build primary school learners’ resilience to violent extremism ideologies and foster among learners a range of supporting cognitive socio-emotional and behavioural skills, concepts such as critical thinking, multi-perspectivity, respect for diversity, understandings of complexity and peaceful coexistence.
- Developing the more immediate capacity of teachers to foster among learners a range of supporting cognitive socio-emotional and behavioural skills – such as critical thinking, multi-perspectivity, understandings of complexity and moral courage
- Developing contextualised PVE-E training material and delivering training to master trainers, primary school teachers, parents, school principals and educational authorities (MoE and DoE personnel)
- Mitigation of the potential for radicalisation leading to violent extremism through a whole-school PVE-E approach in primary schools in the old city of Mosul
- Supporting and establishing support systems for PVE-E in primary schools and the wider community (Parent Teacher Association, Psychosocial Support, School Code of Conduct, Awareness Raising, etc.)
- Preliminary study conducted to serve as the basis for the pilot PVE-E project and provide a picture of the knowledge, attitudes and practices of parents, school teachers and the wider community in their understanding and experience of radicalization and violent extremism in Mosul.
- Contextualized PVE-E training material developed for primary school teachers in Mosul.
- 2-week PVE-E TOT delivered to 26 trainers including delegates from the Iraqi Ministry of Education, the Department of Education in Nineveh and trainers selected by partner organizations who are now equipped with the necessary skills to train primary school teachers in Mosul.
- 662 Primary school teachers in Mosul have completed the PVE-E teacher training programme.
- Parent Teacher Associations (PTA) supported/established and Code of Conduct developed in 11 primary schools in Mosul.
- Awareness Raising sessions held in community centers in Mosul and Psychosocial support (PSS) sessions delivered to teachers on a voluntary basis as part of the PVE-E training.