Terrorists were once children with families and part of a society at some point. It is important to recognize the social and economic factors that push recruits to violent extremism. Entrepreneurship education should become the focal point in the upbringing of children. Most empirical studies show that entrepreneurship can be taught and that education can beneficially ignite and foster entrepreneurship.
Ten things one can do to introduce entrepreneurship skills early.
- Encourage divergent thinking: ask open-ended questions, work on problem-solving, share ideas and build on learning experiences together. Teach children to question, research, and ask for further information. Ask them to take notice of things in their daily lives.
- Create a safe space for ideas: Divergent thinking is most likely to thrive in a safe environment that welcomes all types of ideas, encourages risk-taking, and allows for fast failure. Kids who feel safe are more likely to share ideas, step outside of their comfort zones, and take on more challenges.
- Challenge ideas: Encourage your children to ask why we do things in a certain way. Teach them to look at problems and find various solutions. When we make challenges, it forces us to begin thinking of alternatives.
- Encourage leaders through ownership: Praise kids for unique ideas to solving problems, and for having the confidence to share their solutions.
- Build an Idea Box: You can create an “Idea Box” at home while including the entire family. Using this strategy can encourage everyone to share new possible ventures, foster communication skills, and build confidence in a group setting. After you have gone through some viable ideas, encourage kids to take action.
- Provide experiences: Take your kids to different places and let them explore. Pay attention to their natural curiosities and guide them toward those interests. As they grow, you can begin to see naturally born passions. Their creativity and innovation will come to the forefront when they participate in things they enjoy doing.
- Let kids fail: Let your children fail and teach them how to learn from their mistakes. Show them how to get back up, self-reflect on what they learned, and move on.
- Financial literacy: Schools do not teach financial literacy nearly as much as they should. Introduce money early on and give them goals and responsibilities for managing their finances. Show them the importance of saving and investing. Open a savings or checking account with them. If possible, give them an incentive to save money by offering a matching contribution.
- Model positive relationships: Entrepreneurs understand the importance of pursuing and building meaningful relationships. People like to work with and purchase goods from those they find likeable. Talk with your kids about their friendships, and focus on the importance of compassion, giving back and listening.
- Communicate: Make communication a priority as well as a safe place to talk about ideas, answer questions, and be a sounding board. Communication is key to divergent thinking, creativity, and successful entrepreneurship, and the model must start at home.
School curricula should be adjusted to include life skills training, including job search and entrepreneurship Training. To match advances in educational enrolment with improvements in educational quality, the Kenyan government has begun to reform the school curriculum to make it more competency-based, with a stronger focus on individual learners’ needs and abilities and on promoting critical thinking and creativity.
An industrious child ultimately grows up to become a productive member of society and has very low chances of becoming a terrorist. Entrepreneurship and education can be strong factors in the prevention of violent extremism.