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Brown optimistic for Pakistan in achieving educational targets

11 November, 2012

ISLAMABAD: United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown on Saturday said Pakistan could achieve more progress during next three years than any other country as the whole nation has consensus for promoting education as basic right of every child.

"This is a breakthrough moment for Pakistan's five million out-of-school children as result of Malala's courage," Brown said addressing a news conference after his two-day visit to Pakistan that also coincided with Malala Day observed worldwide. He believed that the silent majority is speaking and that there is now national consensus that the country can delay no longer in ensuring girls and boys have schools to go and teachers to teach them."

"Country after country is adopting Malala as their symbol for a girls' right to school," Brown commented. Brown who also telephoned Malala's two friends Kainat and Shazia, both injured in attack, said not only in Asia but Malala Day was being observed from Latin America and Europe to Africa and several cities in the United States. "Today, we can say with certainty that as long as there are girls out of school anywhere in the world, Malala will be their beacon of hope. Visiting Pakistan and everywhere I go, the message I have received is the same: we are all with Malala," Brown said.

Brown also praised Pakistan's creation of four new Malala schools, a Malala Centre for women's studies and a Malala postgraduate institute. He also expressed pleasure over the plan to provide financial support to poor families for sending their children to schools.

Mentioning to his telephonic interaction with Malala's friends, he said both were courageous young women and wanted to become doctors. During his meetings with ministers of education from every province, he said everyone expressed their commitment to delivering educational opportunities for girls and boys.

Particularly, he said all of them have emphasised that they would work ceaselessly to ensure that three million girls who are denied schooling are no longer discriminated against anywhere in the country," he said.

Brown also quoted that education minister is committed to expand community schools including 900 in the Swat Valley and FATA that provide route into the schooling for children who have never gone to school.

He also referred to a plan launched by Benazir Income Support Programme to expand a conditional cash transfer to families choosing to send their children to school what he said aims to enrol three million children into school over the next four years.

"So action is already underway this week to move further and faster to meeting the Millennium Development Goal for education," he commented, adding that one million people have now signed worldwide petitions.

End.

Reader Comments:

Both Malala Schools and Liberal Minds are Required

Malala will be remembered for her courage to speak up for rights to education for girls in her locality. We all salute Malala, the brave girl of Swat. However, much more is yet to be done for girls of the subcontinent. First, the right to be born. second, the right to survive, to get adequate nutrition, and what is most important, to be recognized as human beings. What happened to Malala and is happening to several other girls like her in many parts of this subcontinent amply proves that women and girl child are not being treated as human beings. This accounts for the several forms of crime against women and small girls..... even infants are not spared. What is more, after such crimes we point our fingers towards the unfortunate girls, holding them responsible for such crimes.
Right to education will, of course help a lot in improving plight of women in several parts of the subcontinent. This will also help girls to obtain the right to information and help them to educate more girls suffering from oppression. As a woman of the subcontinent, I hope girls of our next generation will stand up against any kind of injustice fearlessly. Education is of course a prime requirement for girls of the Swat Valley. Malala Schools will definitely help girls of Swat, but liberal minds are of course, the first necessity.

Sriparna Sarkar-Nath, India - 11 November, 2012

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