Preventing violent extremism through education works: Policy brief on effective activities and impact released


‘Preventing violent extremism (PVE) through education works and contributes to ensuring inclusive and quality education for all’. This is the message of UNESCO’s new Policy Brief, ‘Preventing violent extremism through education: Effective activities and impact’ released on 13 November 2018.

Violent extremism is a threat that pays no respect to borders, challenging the very humanity we all share. Though these challenges cannot be readily overcome, UNESCO considers it vital to seek evidence on the effectiveness of educational activities to prevent violent extremism (PVE-E).

Based on the analysis of thirty-two educational practices across the world, whose effectiveness is supported by a sufficient level of evidence, the Policy Brief highlights that PVE-E activities can be shown to generate at least forty-five positive impacts at individual (cognitive, socio-emotional, behavioural), structural & organisational, as well as the community & social levels. These impacts address the drivers of violent extremism, as put forth in the United Nations Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Prevent of Violent Extremism.

The Policy Brief also draws up a list of educational activities that are proven to be particularly effective in addressing these drivers, such as peer-to-peer learning (including the presence of testimonials), experiential leaning and role-play, activities stimulating critical reflection, among others.

This Policy Brief is a first step to helping Member States, donors and practitioners to plan and implement programmes leading to increased positive impact. The analysis will also help all actors leading PVE-E efforts to take evidenced-informed decisions on spending priorities.

Since 2015, UNESCO has driven forward the importance of education in preventing violent extremism in the framework of its efforts to advance Global Citizenship Education (GCED).