The world continues to be blighted by extremist ideologies. It is commonly argued that one possible solution is more educational opportunity. But the picture may be more complicated. A large number of violent extremists are graduates. A disproportionate number hold degrees in engineering and other technical subjects.
Martin Rose, a Visiting Fellow at the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Centre of Islamic Studies at the University of Cambridge, and British Council consultant on the Middle East has written a new working paper examining existing research on the issue in the region. Intended to provoke discussion, the paper suggests there may be links between the teaching of certain subjects and the closed mind-set of extremists who study them. The paper arguably demonstrates that changing the way some subjects are taught and encouraging questioning and alternative viewpoints, along with better education in the humanities and social sciences, could help immunise minds against extremism. If this argument is true it may have some implications for education policy.