Malala Yousafzai Gets Education Right
By Martha Sessums
“Education is the only solution. Education first.”
Those were the closing words of Malala Yousafzai’s speech at the United Nations July 12th. She is the young girl who was shot in the neck and head when she and her friends were on a school bus heading to class in Mingora, her hometown in the Swat Valley of Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. There is a Taliban group there who objects to girls and women being educated, so they kill female students, teachers and burn down schools to make their statement.
Malala survived, with help from doctors in Pakistan, the UK and the UAE. Being injured didn’t stop her campaign about education rights, it strengthened it.
“Weakness, fear and hopelessness died,” she said. “Strength, power and courage were born.”
We live in a technology bubble in Silicon Valley. We think it’s all about access to the newest technology, broadband and high speed Internet connections. Our schools want high levels of technology to provide video, smart boards, iPads, computers or blended learning in their classrooms. The Internet requirement is often 50 mbps or higher.
But no one here shoots our daughters because they want to go to school. No one here kills teachers because they teach young girls. No one burns down schools because they are places to educate female students.
Malala has it right. It is not about the Internet connection, it is about education. The right of education for every child – both girls and boys, women and men.
“Let us wage a global struggle against illiteracy, poverty, and terrorism and let us pick up our books and pens,” Malala said. “They are our most powerful weapons.”
I won’t say that technology in education isn’t important. It’s a tool that has proven results to help educators and students. But sometimes we should look up from our screens, take our books and pens in hand and fight for education for all. Everywhere.