Combating Extremism in Bangladesh: The Vital Role of Education

Combating Extremism in Bangladesh: The Vital Role of Education. The role of education in combating extremism in Bangladesh is crucial. This blog post delves into the ways in which education plays a vital role in tackling extremism, promoting tolerance, and building a peaceful society. Learn more here.

Combating Extremism in Bangladesh: The Vital Role of Education The role of

The Role of Education in Combating Extremism in Bangladesh

Extremism is a global issue that threatens the peace and stability of our societies. Bangladesh, a country in South Asia, has been grappling with the rise of extremism for decades. In recent years, the country has faced numerous violent attacks by extremist groups, causing fear and chaos among its citizens. One of the most effective ways to combat extremism in Bangladesh is through education.

Why is education crucial in tackling extremism?

Education plays a crucial role in shaping individuals’ beliefs, values, and attitudes. It provides people with the necessary knowledge and skills to think critically, respect different perspectives, and engage in productive dialogue. In a society where extremist ideologies are prevalent, education can be a powerful tool to challenge and counter these beliefs. Here are some ways education can help combat extremism in Bangladesh:

  • Promoting critical thinking: Education encourages individuals to question and analyze information critically. It equips them with the ability to identify misinformation and propaganda, which are often used by extremist groups to lure vulnerable individuals.
  • Encouraging dialogue and diversity: Education fosters an environment of open-mindedness and respect towards diversity. It exposes individuals to different cultures, religions, and beliefs, fostering understanding and empathy. This, in turn, reduces the chances of radicalization and extremism.
  • Providing alternative narratives: Extremist groups often use a distorted interpretation of religious teachings to spread their ideologies. Education can provide alternative narratives that promote tolerance and peace, countering the extremist’s messages.
  • Promoting civic engagement: Education can empower individuals to become active and engaged citizens. It instills a sense of responsibility towards their community, encouraging them to contribute to the betterment of society instead of resorting to violence and extremism.

The Current State of Education in Bangladesh

Despite the significance of education in combating extremism, the education system in Bangladesh faces numerous challenges. According to a report by UNICEF, only 48% of girls and 61% of boys complete primary education in Bangladesh. Additionally, the quality of education is relatively low, with limited resources, outdated curriculums, and a lack of trained teachers.

Moreover, the madrasa education system, which provides Islamic education to a significant portion of the population, has been criticized for propagating extremist ideologies. Madrasas receive little oversight from the government, leading to concerns about the teachings and curriculum provided in these institutions.

The government of Bangladesh has acknowledged the need to reform its education system to combat extremism. In recent years, there have been efforts to improve the quality of education and make it more inclusive. However, more needs to be done to ensure that education becomes a powerful tool against extremism.

Initiatives to Promote Education as a Tool Against Extremism

  • Improving access to education: The government of Bangladesh has launched initiatives such as the Primary Education Stipend Program and the Secondary Education Quality and Access Enhancement Project to improve access to education. These programs aim to provide children from low-income families with the opportunity to attend school.
  • Promoting secular education in madrasas: In recent years, the government has taken steps to promote secular education in madrasas. The National Education Policy of 2010 made it mandatory for madrasa students to also study subjects such as science, math, and English. The government also provides financial assistance to madrasas that implement these changes.
  • Training teachers: The government, in collaboration with NGOs and international organizations, has conducted training programs for madrasa teachers. These programs aim to equip them with modern teaching methods and to promote a more inclusive and moderate interpretation of Islam.

Role of Civil Society and NGOs

Civil society and NGOs also play a crucial role in promoting education as a tool against extremism in Bangladesh. Organizations such as Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) and Grameen Bank have been working towards increasing access to education, especially for underprivileged communities. Their efforts have led to a significant increase in enrollment rates in primary schools in rural areas.

Finding Solutions for the Learning Crisis in Bangladesh's Education System

In addition, civil society and NGOs have been working towards promoting tolerance and peace through education. Initiatives such as ‘Action Against Terrorism in Bangladesh’ have been conducting workshops and seminars in schools, madrasas, and communities to raise awareness about the dangers of extremism and promote peaceful coexistence.

Challenges and the Way Forward

Despite these efforts, promoting education as a tool against extremism in Bangladesh faces numerous challenges, including financial constraints, lack of resources, and resistance from extremist groups. To overcome these challenges and make a more significant impact, the following steps can be taken:

  • Increased investment in education: The government of Bangladesh needs to allocate more resources towards education. This would include funding for schools, teacher salaries, and programs to improve the quality of education. Increased investment in education will not only combat extremism but also have a positive impact on the country’s overall development.
  • Collaboration between the government and civil society: The government can work closely with civil society and NGOs towards the common goal of promoting education as a tool against extremism. This would involve sharing resources, expertise, and working together on initiatives and programs.
  • Stricter regulation of madrasas: The government of Bangladesh needs to have stricter oversight of madrasas to ensure that they are not promoting extremist ideologies. This may involve standardizing the curriculum, training and regulating teachers, and ensuring that madrasa education provides a well-rounded education.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: How does education reduce the vulnerability to extremist ideologies?

Education promotes critical thinking, encourages dialogue, and provides alternative narratives, all of which help individuals to question and reject extremist ideologies. Moreover, education also provides individuals with the skills and opportunities to engage in productive and meaningful activities, reducing their vulnerability to extremist recruitment.

Q: Does poverty play a role in promoting extremism?

While poverty alone does not cause extremism, it can make individuals vulnerable to extremist recruitment. Poverty often leads to a lack of access to education, unemployment, and economic insecurity, making individuals more susceptible to extremist ideologies promising a better future.

Q: Can the education system alone combat extremism?

No, education alone cannot combat extremism. Other factors, such as poverty, political instability, and religious and cultural issues, also contribute to the rise of extremism. However, education is an essential tool in addressing and challenging extremist ideologies.

Q: How can individuals contribute to promoting education as a tool against extremism?

Individuals can contribute by supporting organizations and initiatives that promote education in Bangladesh, volunteering to teach in schools and madrasas, and spreading awareness about the importance of education in combating extremism.

Q: Are there any other countries where education has been effective in combating extremism?

Yes, countries like Indonesia and Malaysia have implemented educational reforms to combat extremism, and have seen positive results. In Indonesia, for example, the government has implemented a “peace education” curriculum in schools, promoting tolerance and diversity, leading to a decline in extremist activity.


The role of education in combating extremism in Bangladesh cannot be understated. It is a long-term, sustainable solution that requires a collaborative effort between the government, civil society, and individuals. By investing in education, promoting secular education in madrasas, and promoting a culture of tolerance and peace, Bangladesh can work towards fostering a more peaceful and inclusive society, free from the grip of extremist ideologies.

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