UNESCO Launches Teacher’s Guide on the Prevention of Violent Extremism

EUROCLIO Partners ,

Within the initiative of Global Citizenship Education (GCED) UNESCO aims to empower learners to assume active roles to face and resolve global challenges and to become proactive contributors to a more peaceful, tolerant, inclusive and secure world. In close connection to this a Teacher’s Guide on the Prevention of Violent Extremism (You can download the Guide below) has been developed in direct response to the needs of UNESCO’s Member States as expressed in the landmark 197/EX Decision 46 taken by UNESCO’s Executive Board in October 2015. As such, this Guide also constitutes UNESCO’s first contribution to the implementation of the UN Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, as it relates to the Education Sector. To read more about this Plan of Action click here.

UNESCO - Guide on the Prevention of Violent ExtremismIn the guide you can read about the push and pull factors of violent extremism, early signs, tips on how to discuss controversial (local) issues and learning to think about questions like: “What are the ground rules?” or “How to be a non-judgmental listener?” The guide was created after a consultation process with experts and teachers from all over the world. It was also field-tested by educational stakeholders in selected countries. As a first, it should be considered a prototype, which can be contextualized, adapted and translated in order to respond to the specific needs of learners.

European Civil Society and European Commission Cooperate on Values Education

In March 2015 the EU Ministers of Education issued their Paris Declaration on Education for fundamental values of tolerance, non-discrimination and inclusion. EUROCLIO responded during the Annual Conference in Denmark in April, and issued its own Helsingor Declaration (available in .pdf below). Throughout September-December, EUROCLIO members and ambassadors had been active in discussions with members of the European Parliament and other EU officials to promote the role of history education, as identified in the Helsingor Declaration. The European Commission Directorate General for Education and Culture (DG EAC) seeks to effectively implement the recommendations of the Paris Declaration and on 15th December, EUROCLIO Founder and Special Advisor Joke van der Leeuw-Roord was invited to participate in a dedicated session to map the next steps as well as long-term planning on these themes. The meeting collected a range civil society organisations, many of whom members of the Lifelong Learning Platform, who shared their views and plans. In early 2016, DG EAC will publish its action plans in this field.

EUROCLIO Ambassador Speaks to the European Parliament

On October 15th, 2015, Benny Christensen spoke on behalf of EUROCLIO at the European Parliament on the Helsingor Declaration. As EUROCLIO ambassador and expert, as well as Historiana contributor, Benny Christensen addressed the Committee on Culture and Education and the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs on ‘What can history education contribute to the prevention of radicalisation.’ The meeting was made available to the public via a live stream.

Inclusion and Citizenship at the Forefront of New EU priorities in Education

EU action and Member States’ cooperation in the field of education and training is framed in a work programme – the Education and Training 2020 Strategic Framework (ET2020), which contains four strategic objectives and seven benchmarks. Following a mid-term evaluation, the Draft 2015 Joint Report of the ET2020 proposes new work priorities up to 2020. Highlighting the need to pursue a comprehensive lifelong learning approach, from early childhood education to adult education, the report rightly stresses the role played by education to contribute to employment and growth objectives as well as to building a fairer and more cohesive and democratic societyEUCIS-LLL also welcomes the emphasis being placed on good governance and the need to reinforce partnerships with social partners and civil society. It thus supports its formal adoption by the Education Council in November. Partially, this new direction is in tune with the EUROCLIO 2015 Helsingor Declaration.

EUCIS-LLL welcomes the adoption by the European Commission of the Draft 2015 Joint Report that represents a turning point in EU cooperation in the field by offering a balanced approach between the economic, social and civic goals of education. The Draft Report rightly highlights the main challenges Europe is facing such as increasing inequalities, unemployment, digitalisation, ageing and radicalization. If the four strategic objectives, which EUCIS-LLL supported, are maintained in the Draft Report, it urges to pursue their efforts in developing the third, “promoting equity, social cohesion and active citizenship”. This call shared by many civil society organisations has been heard, while action became urgent after the attacks in Paris and Copenhagen. EUCIS-LLL is now looking forward to the concrete measures and programmes that will follow the adoption of the Report.

Besides, the Draft Report emphasises the need to continue efforts to improve access to quality education for all. Providing high quality learning opportunities to all and especially to the most disadvantaged groups is crucial in getting people more engaged in society in its economic, political and social dimensions. As European history shows, rising inequalities go hand in hand with rising nationalism and discrimination. EUCIS-LLL had therefore called for a flagship initiative on “Inclusive Education” as concrete follow-up of the adoption of the Joint Report.

Finally, the Report announces measures to improve governance and relevance of the ET2020. EUCIS-LLL would like to stress the importance of partnerships between both sectors and actors. The LLL-HUB project shows that such partnerships are the key to implement comprehensive and efficient lifelong learning strategies at national and regional level and require proper coordination mechanisms and strong political. Trans-sectoral partnerships should also be strongly encouraged and supported within Erasmus+ at centralised and decentralised level. As the OECD Agenda for Action stresses, partnerships are the cornerstone to public service innovation. EUCIS-LLL and its members are thus eager to participate in meaningful dialogues with policy makers and in initiatives to contribute to a successful implementation of the strategy.

The European Civil Society Platform on Lifelong Learning (EUCIS-LLL) gathers 39 European networks working in education and training. Together, they cover all sectors of education and training including networks for secondary and higher education, vocational education and training, adult education and popular education; networks for students, school heads, parents, HRD professionals, teachers and trainers. www.eucis-lll.eu

Contact: Audrey Frith, EUCIS-LLL Director, +32 2 893 2515, audrey.frith@eucis-lll.eu