Thursday, 23 October 2014

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10 November, Malala Day: Gordon Brown calls for international focus on education of girls

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The struggle of Malala, who is still recovering from her wounds, should not be forgotten, since it is a struggle for a very important human right. 32 million girls around the world are still denied the right to education, partly because of their sex, but also because they fall victim to recruiters of child soldiers, are given away as child brides or forced into child labour. Therefore, the UN special envoy on global education, Gordon Brown, has called for 10 November to be International Malala Day to emphasize the importance of education in general and the education of girls in particular.

 

On the first International Malala Day, Gordon Brown will visit President Zardari of Pakistan and deliver the million-plus petition in order to encourage the Pakistani Government to provide education for all, including girls. “When I hand him the petition I will ask the President to lead governmental changes in policy to ensure the delivery of girls' education in Pakistan” the former Prime Minister stated earlier in October. In Pakistan five million children do not receive any education; two thirds of these are girls. On a global scale there are still 61 million children with no access to any form of education according to Unesco’s annual report on global education.

During his visit, the UN envoy will also announce a new foundation in Malala’s honor, to support education for girls globally. Just weeks before the assassination attempt, Malala had expressed her aim to establish a foundation to campaign for the right to education for all girls around the world. The visit of Gordon Brown to Pakistan comes at a time when education in Pakistan is at an important turning point. Days after the attack on Malala another girl, Hinna Khan, was also threatened with murder and less than a week before the special envoy’s visit to Pakistan, a school in Lahore was set on fire after allegations of blasphemy against a teacher, who copied the wrong page from an exercise book. The call for Malala day and the establishment of the Malala Foundation should create new momentum for universal education as the international push for this Millennium Development Goal came to a halt in 2008, according to the latest Unesco report on global education. The UN organization also reported that in 2010, 70 countries had an annual enrolment of children in primary school of under 80%.

 

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