Officials, experts stress importance of education in combatting extremism, terrorism

ABU DHABI — A number of officials and experts have stressed the importance of education in combatting extremism and terrorism while noting the UAE’s model in this regard, during a symposium organised today by the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research, titled, “Education and Extremism and Terrorism.”

The activity saw the attendance of Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, Dr. Majid bin Ali Al Nuaimi, Minister of Education and Chairman of the Higher Education Council of Bahrain, Dr. Tarek Shawki, Minister of Education and Technical Education of Egypt, as well as senior writers, journalists and media personalities, and several intellectuals and those interested in education.

The attendees highlighted the importance of education in combatting extremism and terrorism while discussing its role in creating future generations who are open-minded. They also agreed that advancement based on solid and sustainable foundations cannot be achieved without a modern education system, which combines relevant aspects of modern science and knowledge.

Dr. Al Hammadi gave the first major speech, where he spoke about the importance of education in achieving sustainable development and fighting extremism and terrorism. He added that common ethical values and ideas that are present in a modern education system are what marks the position of a society in the world while advancement cannot be achieved without a modern and high-quality education.

He added that terrorism is a result and product of extremist thinking, which is the main enemy of humanity while adding that everyone must an overall solution to this phenomenon, based firstly on sustainable development and secondly on education. He also stressed that education must be innovative and creative while stressing the UAE has led the fight against terrorist thought through education, and he warned about the danger of this ideology infiltrating the educational system.

He also highlighted the leading initiative of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to teach ethical education in national schools, in order to establish positive ethical values based on tolerance, moderation, openness and coexistence.

In the second major speech, Dr. Shawki spoke about the efforts of the Egyptian Government to improve the general educational system in Egypt, which recently introduced an overall plan, with the participation of all relevant institutions, to combat terrorism and extremism in all their physical and intellectual forms.

In the third major speech, Dr. Al Nuaimi explained the experience of the Kingdom of Bahrain in combatting terrorism through education, by highlighting the country’s and its community’s efforts against this phenomenon. He also stressed the importance of educational standards and related research and development in promoting scientific thought and establishing the values of hard work, diversity and human rights, as well as rejecting all forms of violence and extremism. He also highlighted Bahrain’s successes in this area, which have gained the recognition of many international organisations.

The symposium tackled two themes of discussion: “The Importance of Education in Countering Extremism and Terrorism,” which examined the role of education in creating an open-minded generation capable of confronting the destructive ideas disseminated by radical terrorist groups; and “Developing Education Curricula to Instill Moderate Thought,” which highlighted the importance of developing an educational curricula and continuously enhancing it with updated materials to help raise awareness in society.

Organisers said these discussions and resultant recommendations would hopefully contribute to filling the gaps that the extremist and terrorist groups may try to exploit to gain access to the minds of the youth.

Source: Emirates News Agency

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