Agency to develop school course to counter extremism

Saturday February 24 2018

Al-Shabaab.

Al-Shabaab recruits perform military drills in Somalia, on February 17, 2011. The Kenyan National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) is in talks with the Ministry of Education to develop a school programme to counter violent extremism. FILE PHOTO | ABDURASHID ABDULLE | AFP 

MOHAMED AHMED
By MOHAMED AHMED
More by this Author

The National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) is in talks with the Ministry of Education to develop a school programme to counter violent extremism.

NCTC deputy director Joseph Opondo on Saturday said once formed, the programme would be incorporated into the new education curriculum and would enhance child safety.

TALKS

“Already we are in discussion with top education officials and the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development. We are at the advanced stage of the plans but it will be implemented soon,” Mr Opondo told the Nation.

He said the programme would help the government deal with violent extremism and radicalisation “at the incubation level”.

“Our approach now is on the roots because the focus is prevention rather than cure. We don’t want to cure, we want to get them early enough,” said Mr Opondo.

He said the anti-terrorism agency is already carrying out sensitisation programmes for secondary and primary school teachers.

At higher learning institutions, officials have been working with the universities’ leadership to prevent radicalisation, said Mr Opondo.

“We are also involving the students’ union leadership who make it easier to get to the youth irrespective of their gender,” he said.

At the Coast, Mr Opondo said already they have worked with students at Pwani University and Technical University of Mombasa.

WOMEN

He acknowledged that more women are joining terror groups, some of whom are recruited in education institutions.

“Yes they [women] are now being targeted. The women are part of the society.

“Our approach is all-inclusive now and our focus is not on gender right now. We are dealing with the terrorism threat as a whole,” said Mr Opondo.

According to a report by the Institute for Security Studies in Africa, once recruited, the women play various roles in the violent extremist group such as recruiters, spies, cooks and cleaners.

Women have reportedly travelled to Somalia to join Al-Shabaab, or have been recruiting for the group, masterminding terrorist attacks in Mombasa, forming terror cells, and providing information and finances for terrorist organisations.