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Education: A cure to Extremism?

Sebastian Reimer
Extremism is a global education fight
(Tony Blair, BBC March 27th 2019)

Why is it important?

Education prevents extremism and extremism destroys education:

How does it affect you?

Approx 108 million people enjoy education within the EU (EuroStat, Pupils and students enrolled by education level, sex, type of institution and intensity of participation). That is almost each fifth of us. If you have children, you are directly affected and for sure know about the importance of education.

What does STOP EXTREMISM do?

STOP EXTREMISM is proposing provisions, that fine the destruction of education with up to 20 million Euros.

The first thing ever done should develop the general ability for independent thinking and neutral judgment, and not the acquisition of specialized knowledge. Teaching a man a speciality should not be enough, despite this might make it a useful machine, because he will not be able to have a harmonious personality and will not be fully developed....
(Albert Einstein)


There are two types of education:

  • formal (= by publicly recognized / funded institution = 90% schools)
  • nonformal (= outside formal institutions, e.g. family, religious communities, sports clubs, ...)

Both types of education play an important role in prevention of extremism:

  • formal education
    • creates Know-How,
    • fosters economic participation,
    • thus prevents feelings of discrimination, which can easily be exploited by extremists;
  • nonformal education
    • grows ethics,
    • improves positive attitude towards (political) communities,
    • thus contributes to resilience to extremism.

Typically transmission of values happens primarily in nonformal education (European Youth Portal). As extremism is an attack on the shared values of the United Nations (UNGA A/70/674, p. 1), a better (legal) protection of these shared values is needed.

That is why the Anti-Extremism-Directive aims at protecting the fundamental rights as laid down by the European Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Extremists love to attack girls (UNGA A/70/574, p. 5), as seen in many occassions, with the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapping being one of the most infamous ones. Boko Haram - as it name says - fights against Western education, which is deemed bad [Arabic: haram]. Boko Haram is the African wing of Daesh, revealing the attitude of Jihadists towards education.