II. Educational Approaches

Some of the following approaches to educational curricula development for CVE may already exist in certain educational systems for reasons unrelated to CVE. On the other hand, the existence of such curricula does not always mean that recruitment and radicalization into violent extremism are reduced in all contexts.


Good Practice 6

Emphasize in curricula the concepts of problem-solving and the examination of issues through a “gray” lens as opposed to a black-and-white lens.

Such critical thinking skills are useful for challenging violent extremist messages because they reveal the multiple ways of approaching an issue other than the use of violence. These skills are most effective when integrated at an early age—university level engagement is often too late.


Good Practice 7

Increase and expand on curricula that emphasize civic education, civic responsibility and human values.

Civic education provides youth with a framework for a collective civic identity and therefore fosters tolerance and the willingness to negotiate and compromise. To be most effective, civic education and its related values must be relevant to the local context and culture. It is also important to consider how best to highlight the value of civic education in light of a greater demand for math, science, engineering, and medicine rather than social sciences and humanities.


Good Practice 8

Offer opportunities for vocational and technical training and emphasize the development of life skills.

In places where economic motivations to radicalization to violence are operative, vocational and technical training can build resilience in youth who may be recruited or radicalized to violence. This training can build their self-confidence, empowering them to choose a positive, productive alternative using their technical skills. Life skills can also build resilience by bolstering individuals’ ability to solve problems, think critically, make decisions, communicate, and build interpersonal relationships. These skills all help students identify and implement peaceful solutions to conflict while resisting the lure to violence.


Good Practice 9

Relate CVE issues to existing social issues already included in educational curricula.

Linking the issue of violent extremism to other issues already being discussed in curricula, such as gang violence, drugs and alcohol, trauma, and bullying, may make it more relevant and accessible to students.


Good Practice 10

Address the role of trauma and ways to build resilience to it in an educational setting.

Traumatic experiences, especially those involving violence, have been shown to be a destabilizing catalyst that can create vulnerabilities and render traumatized individuals susceptible to recruitment and radicalization to violence. Addressing trauma may especially be relevant in the context of refugee populations or conflict/post-conflict situations.