Skip to main content

Community Relations: Religion

Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 5 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how his Department plans to work with key national student/learner organisations in order to raise awareness of risks including violent extremism; and if he will make a statement. (190146)

We have provided guidance to further and higher education institutions to raise their awareness of risks and to help them promote good relations and prevent extremism.

Universities and colleges need to promote and reinforce shared values and create the space for free and open debate in which all can join. It is important that institutions break down segregation among different student communities, including by supporting inter-faith and inter-cultural dialogue. They must also ensure student safety and institutions that are free from bullying, harassment and intimidation. They need to provide support and appropriate sources of advice and guidance for students who may be at risk and they need to ensure staff and students are aware of their roles in preventing violent extremism.

In that overall context, we are working with the NUS and student faith groups to explore what further help they need to raise awareness of potential risks and to provide support for students. We will develop our plans for students/learners in the FE sector through dialogue with the National Learner Panel, the NUS and organisations that support student faith societies as part of the consultation.

In addition, we are working with the NUS and other sectoral organisations to take forward the next stage of the debate that the Prime Minister called for in November on

“how to protect and maintain academic freedom while ensuring that extremists can never stifle debate or impose their views”.