Educators’ role central in helping youth to challenge violent extremism, OSCE event concludes
SARAJEVO, 17 February 2016 - The education sector can play a crucial role in preventing young people from succumbing to ‘pull factors’ leading to violent extremism and terrorism, participants said at an OSCE-sponsored event dedicated to countering violent extremism and radicalization through education, which concluded today.
The two-day workshop gathered more than 30 high-school teachers, educators and school psychologists from all regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) with the aim of strengthening their ability to dealing with violent extremism and radicalization in classrooms.
“Teachers and parents have a great responsibility to be familiar with the risks of ideologies spread by violent extremist groups,” said Head of the OSCE Mission to BiH Jonathan Moore. “In addition to educating boys and girls about this dangerous phenomenon, it is critical for schools to work with parents on developing tools that will enable vulnerable students to challenge violent extremism by themselves.”
Mirko Ljubez, a history teacher at the Secondary Vocational School in Jajce said that it is important to pay attention to each student regardless of their religious and national background. “Through various activities, especially of the non-governmental sector, we need to work on the personality building of each individual, and by doing so, we can prevent violent extremism and other forms of violence occurring in our society.”
Professor at Stockholm University Nihad Bunar highlighted the importance of educational institutions: “Rejecting discrimination, segregation and the politicization of education cannot be emphasized enough, as these ingredients can contribute enormously to the radicalization of young people.”
The OSCE Mission to BiH organized this workshop in co-operation with the country’s Security Ministry as part of its project on supporting the dialogue for preventing violent extremism in BiH launched in September last year.
This project also contributed to the OSCE United in Countering Violent Extremism initiative that highlights OSCE’s comprehensive approach to preventing violent extremism and radicalization that lead to terrorism by branding all relevant activities under common slogan #UnitedCVE.