September 11th memorial in New York at ground zero

20 Years Since 9/11: Why Education is More Relevant Than Ever

This blog post was published under the 2019 to 2022 Conservative government


By Peter Rosengard, Chairman SINCE 9/11

At SINCE 9/11 we’re focused on making sure young people understand how important the events, causes and consequences of 9/11 were and how they fit into today’s world. 9/11 changed the world. It was the worst terrorist attack in history, in which 2977 innocent people were killed by Islamist terrorists. Whilst over 2600 of the victims were Americans, over 90 nations lost citizens, including 67 British victims. It is to this day the single largest loss of life of UK citizens in a terror attack.

We all remember exactly where we were on that terrible day, September 11th 2001 but no child at school today was even born.

For primary and secondary school students 9/11 is now an historical event, not a moment remembered from their own lives, as with their parents’ generation.  They are growing up in a SINCE 9/11 world. Indeed, some of their own teachers in their classrooms were themselves young children at the time.

In the broad context of modern history, 9/11 is a pivotal moment for extremism here in the West which young people should be aware of and understand. On the 20th anniversary of the attacks, many of your students may be asking about what 9/11 was, and why it’s important to understand in today’s world.

Why does it matter?

We believe providing additional education resources is important for our children and our teachers, for our society, to ensure a peaceful, harmonious, cohesive future for generations to come; one of tolerance and respect for all beliefs, faiths and religions. In 2021, the threat of extremism remains and there is still a prevalence of Islamophobia, antisemitism, racism, populism and nationalism in our society.

Education is a huge part of the answer.  That’s why we’ve worked with Educate Against Hate to produce new SINCE 9/11 education resources that are free for all secondary schools, as well as a separate programme for primary schools. These resources can help teachers and school leaders across the country discuss 9/11 with their students in an informed way.

Our programmes are downloaded over 10,000 times a year and on December 10th 2020 over 10,000 UK students attended our Virtual Student Summit, ‘Why is 9/11 Relevant Today?’ In addition, you can download our SINCE 9/11 Assembly Packs in preparation for the 20th Anniversary of 9/11. These provide both essential background information about 9/11 to stimulate conversation – and answers to frequently asked questions.

On September 7th we launch our important report ‘Addressing Extremism in the Classroom’, commissioned from our partners the world-renowned Institute of Education. This ground-breaking and important research underlines how important it is to address these issues both in our classrooms -and outside them- and the need for teachers, parents and students to “Talk it Out”.

Just as we would vaccinate against disease, this report shows now is the time to vaccinate our children against hate.

A note from the Educate Against Hate team on current events in Afghanistan

You will have seen the crisis unfolding in Afghanistan this month, which may affect students in schools from the Afghan diaspora, and also young people from resettled families who might soon be starting in education settings. He Named Me Malala is a classroom resource for KS3 and KS4 which may help facilitate discussion with pupils about the current events.

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