Highlighting integration in educational settings for radicalisation prevention Silvia Bernardo December 17, 2021

Highlighting integration in educational settings for radicalisation prevention

National focus group gathers Education professionals from different contexts with a common goal of early radicalisation prevention.

On the road to helping education professionals create stronger support networks for vulnerable youth, CEDAR project partners promote discussions based on shared experiences to identify common challenges and good practices.

One of these initiatives carried out within the scope of the project was a focus group organised by IPS_Innovative Prison Systems. This focus group brought to the fore the need to understand in-depth the context of interventions, and the realities of those to intervene upon. As such, participants in the activity highlighted the need to adapt interventions and the organisational desire to create and reinforce good practices.

This diverse focus group was composed of: a teacher at the Fundão Highschool; an educational technician responsible for the juvenile services at the Directorate General for Prison and Probation; an artistic and social coordinator from ‘CorpoEmCadeia’, a national programme to capacitate inmates; a social worker and manager of social projects; and a professor and academical researcher at Beira Interior University, working on the Psychology department.

Building a foundation to create training and tools for educators

The discussion showcased and reinforced the necessity to comprehend those vulnerable and, potentially, discriminated individuals and assess their needs. This assessment will be the baseline to work on developing their skills, hence promoting their integration through education, both formal and artistic.

In the good practices list, the participating professionals highlight the need for holistic collaboration between different actors involved in the target youth’s life, from teachers and educational technicians to psychologists and sociocultural animators, as well as the surrounding community.

Building positive relationships and mentoring between professionals and young people is identified as a fruitful practice to create strong bonds that can be approached for support. This is especially relevant for those who live in potentially stigmatised social contexts.

CEDAR focus group

The focus group online meeting had an introductory presentation by the researchers, followed by open debate.

Another important resource in successful reintegration on the table was the implementation of community projects in prison and youth detention centres that connect young people to the outside world through recreational activities. However, the lack of resources in the organisations was identified as a common obstacle preventing adequate initiatives.

Organised by IPS on the 17th of December, 2021, this focus group activity is part of the pedagogical needs analysis being conducted in each of the partner countries of project CEDAR – Continuing Education Against Radicalisation. The commitment underlying it is the training and empowerment of European teachers and educators to actively contribute to radicalisation and extremism prevention among young people.

The CEDAR project is promoted by the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts (France) in partnership with IPS_Innovative Prison Systems (Portugal), the University Rey Juan Carlos (Spain), the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences (Austria), the School with Class Foundation (Poland), and the University of Toulouse Jean Jaurès (France). The project is funded by Erasmus+ and KA2 – Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices (Strategic Partnerships for higher education).

For more information about the CEDAR project, please visit its page.