Countering violent extremism in education: a human rights analysis




Governments around the world have developed a range of policy approaches for countering violent extremism (CVE) in education. In this article we review a United Kingdom (UK) government website offering a library of resources (Educate Against Hate), evaluating the extent to which it is consistent with human rights principles. Whilst the advice, guidance and resources are varied and inconsistent, our analysis shows that children are frequently perceived as potential victims in need of protection, rather than individuals with agency, and they are rarely considered explicitly as rights holders. Whilst an equalities framework is used throughout the website, this is rarely linked to human rights, and does not prevent some stereotypical views of religious minorities being promoted. The article ends with an outline of how a more explicit engagement with children’s rights might help teachers to better align CVE policy with human rights education (HRE) principles.


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Author Biographies

Hans Svennevig, UCL Institute of Education, UK.

Hans Svennevig is Senior Teaching Fellow Citizenship Education and Subject Leader Citizenship PGCE at UCL Institute of Education. Hans has been involved in Citizenship education since 2003 working in schools, colleges and the charity sector. Hans volunteers with the Association for Citizenship Teaching including co-editing Teaching Citizenship. His research interests are in Citizenship education and disaster preparedness education.

Lee Jerome, Middlesex University, UK

Lee Jerome is Associate Professor of Education at Middlesex University. He has worked in citizenship and human rights education for over 20 years and is a founder member of the Association for Citizenship Teaching.

Alex Elwick, UCL Institute of Education, UK.

Alex Elwick is a Lecturer at UCL Institute of Education and Middlesex University. Previously he was the Research Officer at Education Development Trust. He has an AHRC-funded doctorate exploring learning in art galleries and has been a British Research Council Fellow at the Kluge Center, Library of Congress, Washington, DC. His research focuses on the Prevent Duty and approaches towards radicalisation, extremism and terrorism in schools.


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How to Cite

Svennevig, H., Jerome, L., & Elwick, A. (2021). Countering violent extremism in education: a human rights analysis. Human Rights Education Review, 4(1), 91–110.

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