Preventing violent extremism in Kenyan schools: Talking about terrorism


  • Torhild Breidlid Oslo Metropolitan University


Violent Extremism, Counter-Narratives, Resilience, Social Cohesion, Critical Thinking


This article focuses on what teachers and students in Kenya consider the best ways to prevent violent extremism. Two common approaches to preventing violent extremism through education are discussed. The first approach is resilience to violent extremism through critical thinking and counter-narratives. The second approach is inclusion, tolerance and social cohesion. Key findings from my research on secondary schools in Kenya reveal that teachers are very conscious of not taking a confrontational approach to controversial issues like violent extremism, as doing so might provoke certain student groups in class. Thus, an avoidance strategy is employed to create harmony and social cohesion. This article is based on fieldwork in three Kenyan secondary schools from 2019 that involved 50 classroom observations, 30 semi-structured interviews with students and teachers, and documentary analysis of the Kenyan secondary school syllabus and textbooks.


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