Education Is Essential in Preventing Extremism; EDITOR'S REPLY

The Evening Standard (London, England), September 21, 2018 | Go to article overview

Education Is Essential in Preventing Extremism; EDITOR'S REPLY


IT is welcome to read of Lord Evans' support for the Prevent Strategy ["Protect children from extremism with beefed-up RE classes, says ex-MI5 boss", September 14] and he is right to stress that Prevent's work -- which revolves entirely around safeguarding -- differs significantly from law enforcement or the work of the security services.

Lord Evans is also right to stress the role of education in countering extremism, although in my view this extends far beyond the teaching of religious education. Whether it be exploring Britain's political system and shared values, developing critical thinking skills in history, meeting students from different backgrounds, or simply as the natural platform to engage with new ideas in the formative years, education is fundamental to increasing resilience to extremism among the young.

This is why Prevent works so closely with the education sector. It has helped organise workshops and events for thousands of students on issues ranging from online safety and critical thinking, to foreign policy and tolerance. In addition, more than 90 per cent of the 1,700 teachers who filled out a questionnaire after receiving training by my team since April 2017 stated they felt more confident discussing extremism in the classroom after the training. …

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