UNRWA works with UNESCO to produce technical guide on education to prevent violent extremism

29 March 2016
© 2016 UNRWA Photo by Nilse Ryman

The UNRWA Deputy Director for Education, Nilse Ryman, participated in a consultation meeting with a small group of experts last week to develop a technical guidance document that will support education policymakers in reinforcing education to prevent violent extremism. This work is being undertaken in support of the UN Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism (A/70/674 of 24 December 2015).

The consultation meeting, held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris from 21 to 22 March, 2016, brought together experts from around the world to share their experiences and advise on the preparation of the technical guide. Mr. Ryman presented the Agency’s system approach to managing quality education. Specific elements, such as the UNRWA Curriculum Framework and the UNRWA Human Rights, Conflict Resolution and Tolerance programme, were of particular interest to the participants. Participants agreed that key qualitative learning outcomes, such as the development of critical thinking and higher order thinking skills, needed to be pursued through systemic approaches.

The Technical Guide on Education to Prevent Violent Extremism will be designed as a policy tool that will be adaptable for education sectors in different contexts. The guide will address essential issues, such as teachers’ responsibilities, key skills that help build resilience to violent extremist messaging, and the engagement of educational stakeholders and other sectors of society in prevention efforts. A first draft will be made available during the Global Meeting on the Prevention of Violent Extremism, set to take place in September 2016. 

This work is undertaken in the context of the ongoing cooperation between UNESCO and UNRWA. UNESCO has supported the UNRWA education programme since its inception in 1950 by providing strategic and technical expertise through high-level UNESCO education staff. 

Background Information: 

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA programme budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s programme budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals. UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.

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